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In Wake of Criticism, Board of Election Looks at New Vote Counting Procedures

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bronx commissioner Juan Carlos "J.C." Polanco during the Board of Elections meeting. (Brigid Bergin/WNYC)

A New York City Board of Election committee on Friday passed new guidelines for how the city will report election night results. The procedural changes come in the wake of criticism leveled against the board for its handling of the Democratic primary results in the Manhattan-based 13th Congressional District last month.

"This is a great day. I think were a step closer to modernizing our election night reporting," said Board of Elections commissioner J.C. Polanco.

The new election night procedures call for a bipartisan team of poll workers stationed inside police precincts, while the memory sticks from the city's new electronic vote scanners will now be brought directly to the precincts and the data directly reported by the poll workers.

The current procedures have police officers getting numbers from the poll workers at the voting locations which are then entered by the NYPD back in the precincts. The process during last month's primary election resulted in a number of election districts reporting zero votes on the night of the election.

Earlier on Friday, the New York State Board of Elections—which oversees the city’s board—issued an advisory legal opinion to the city that it could establish a new process “to provide more for more accurate reporting of unofficial election night results.”

The committee reviewing the election night reporting process agreed to the new procedures through unanimous consent.

On Tuesday the board’s ten commissioners will vote on whether or not to adopt the new procedures.

“I’m hopeful that we'll be able to get at least six votes to get this done,” Polanco said.

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