FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 8, 2018
On Election Day, voters in New York City experienced widespread problems with malfunctioning scanners, poorly designed ballots, and long lines at polling sites as they exercised their right to vote in the 2018 midterm election. Issues were reported by voters, poll watchers and news outlets at polling sites across all five boroughs, including several sites in Brooklyn.
The New York City Board of Elections blamed record turnout and inclement weather for these problems. The Brooklyn Voters Alliance finds that explanation unacceptable. The Board of Elections had advanced notice of inclement weather and the possibility of record turnout. Voter turnout will continue to surge in New York and Mother Nature is no excuse. It is the responsibility of the Board of Elections to be prepared and accountable for their failures. Therefore, we are calling on the Board of Elections to implement a review of its Election Day performance and issue a report detailing the voting irregularities experienced in New York City on Election Day, as well as a proposal to prevent these problems from happening again.
The circumstance that New Yorkers found themselves in yesterday could have been substantially mitigated if New York State had some form of early voting or other modern voting procedures in effect. Thirty-seven states currently make provisions for early voting and there is no reason, beyond intransigence in Albany, that New York State cannot also institute early voting and other important voting measures, including automatic and same-day voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, electronic poll books, and preregistration of 16- and 17-year olds.
The Brooklyn Voters Alliance calls on Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature to pass these reforms in the first month of the 2019 legislative session. New York voters and election administrators need as much time as possible to ensure our voting system is prepared for what will likely be a monumental election in 2020. New Yorkers can no longer wait for fair and convenient access to their fundamental right to vote.