A rank smell: New York City’s Board of Elections just committed a crime against democracy

A rank smell: New York City’s Board of Elections just committed a crime against democracy
·2 min read

Dear God. New York City’s vote-counters had a solid week to get their first citywide ranked-choice vote results right, and they left a steaming, stinking pile of fake ballots in the middle of the kitchen floor. Proving its incompetence knows no bounds, the city Board of Elections once again lost an election. Forget “Hang Mike Pence”; the chant should be “Blow up the BOE, then bury the blasted and singed tiny bits deep in the ocean.”

This botch was so tragic, so comic, so epic, it beggared belief: The numbers that the partisan hacks presented meticulously Tuesday, detailing a dozen rounds of candidate elimination in the Democratic mayoral primary, were garbage. Stuffed full of dummy ballots, because, apparently, the people who compiled them were dummies.

When the results came out, we and others, including Eric Adams, raised serious questions: Why were there 142,005 more in-person ballots tallied than last week? How dare you doubt the results, asked some, likening responsible skepticism of the worst election administrators in America if not the free world to some Trumpian gaslighting.

Then the bomb dropped: The meticulously presented numbers vanished from the board’s web site, and the agency confessed. They have been practicing their ranked-choice tabulation software with 135,000 dummy ballots. Then they kept that sand in the gears in the machine when tabulating the real results.

How does the Board possibly recover from this breach of trust? With total and complete transparency. Reporting results to the public every single step of the way, and releasing all ballot images so that the people of the city can double- and triple-check their work. Because for good reason, we will never ever ever trust them again.

Through their ineptitude, they’ve fomented more confusion and distrust in America’s biggest city than Rudy Giuliani’s and Donald Trump’s lies ever could. Fire them. Fire them all. Rebuild the elections administrator from the ground up, lest they turn our local democracy into even more of a sick, sad joke.

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