On June 29, 2021 the NYC Board of Elections erroneously included over 130,000 test records in their initial and preliminary Ranked Choice Voting tabulation, thereby spoiling the published results. This error took over six hours to publicly explain, causing public confusion and scrutiny over election integrity and the Ranked Choice Voting system at large. To be clear, what we saw has nothing to do with ranked choice voting, a new system of voting which gives voters more of a say in who is elected, but is a representation of issues we continue to face with how we administer elections in New York City.
The state constitution expressly requires that Boards of Elections have equal bipartisan representation in the functions of qualifying voters, distributing ballots to voters, and receiving, recording or counting votes at elections. Duties outside of these functions are designated in the state Election Law by the Legislature. Therefore there are two legislative paths for BOE reform: a constitutional amendment to remove the bi-partisan requirement (long term reform) and passing legislation to change election law (short term reform). DemocracyNYC and the Mayor support a two-pronged approach: pursuing short term legislative change to ensure accountability at the board and then pursuing the more comprehensive constitutional amendment.
NYC BOE reform bill S6226A/A5691B: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Krueger and Assembly Member Rozic, prioritizes reforming the NYC BOE by establishing transparency, accountability and professional standards across the organization and is a significant first step towards long term holistic reform. Help us get the word out about this key legislation by contacting your state legislators!
The bill includes key enhancements reflective of the conversations with over 45 good government groups and community organizations citywide. Highlights and significant enhancements to 2020 version of the bill include: