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Public Advocate: Board of Elections Not Solely Responsible for Primary Day Problems

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio says the city Department of Education and the Police Department share responsibility with the City Board of Elections for the widespread voting problems on Primary Day.

De Blasio's office reviewed 150 polling sites that experienced "significant problems" on September 14 and he says some of the problems were clearly mistakes by the Board of Elections -- like poor training of many poll workers.

But the Board didn't cause all of the problems.

"Some problems were the fault of the Department of Education," says De Blasio, "in the sense that custodians didn't do what they should have done to have the site ready or to have it unlocked on time."

And in other cases, de Blasio says police officers didn't show up to their polling place assignments on time for workers to open doors.  

"You know, the famous phrase, 'It takes two to tango'?" asks De Blasio. "In this case, it takes three to tango. You need all three agencies in coordination for Election Day to go smoothly."

De Blasio and other city officials will be testifying before the state Senate Elections Committee Wednesday to offer ways the Board of Elections can better coordinate with other city agencies for the November election.  

The committee will also be looking into other Primary Day problems, including missing and malfunctioning equipment, ballot privacy and poll worker training.

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