Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned Friday he fears the city’s Board of Elections could screw up this fall’s election so badly the city will be left without a mayor in 2014.
“We could go to January and not know who the mayor is,” Mr. Bloomberg said during his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling, repeating concerns he raised earlier this week about the potential for disaster.
Taxation and Representation
City Republicans–and Adolfo Carrion Jr.–slammed proposed city legislation that would allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections, calling the idea offensive, illegal and just plain dumb.
The City Council held a hearing earlier today on a bill that would allow any resident legally living in the city for six months or longer to vote in municipal elections. The bill, which is opposed by the mayor, has wide support on the council, with 34 sponsors–a veto-proof majority.
Lena Dunham, the star and creator of HBO’s zeitgeisty comedy Girls, took to Twitter this afternoon to fight back against reports she did not vote in the presidential election last year despite filming a controversial ad urging others to cast a ballot for President Barack Obama. According to officials at the Board of Elections in Brooklyn, Ms. Dunham’s claim she voted by affidavit ballot may have merit.
Journeys With Joe
Vice President Joe Biden, fresh off voting for himself in Delaware, returned to the pivotal battleground state of Ohio this afternoon to do a final round of campaign stops before polls close. And, true to form, Mr. Biden seemed to be having fun.
Approaching a booth at a Greek diner in Cleveland, Mr. Biden apologized for causing a commotion, jesting diners just came to get some spaghetti, “and Joe Biden shows up.”
Next, the vice president met, according to a pool report, “the number one Biden superfan.” The supporter, “struggling to contain excitement,” offered Mr. Biden her food before chanting, “Biden! Biden!”
As New Yorkers crowd into long lines, waiting for the right to vote at polling sites that may or may not have functional machines to tally the votes, Mayor Michael Bloomberg held another press conference to update the city on its recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. While addressing the storm, Mr. Bloomberg, who has criticized the local Board of Elections in the past, did not hold back in his frustration with the issues at the polls today.
“People all around the world would like to have our freedoms and to keep them and extend them, we have to exercise them. I know many people, including myself, are encountering lines at the polls. Be patient, it’s worth the wait,” he said. “From the reports that we’ve gotten, the Board of Elections has run into problems, including late delivery of machines to some sites and late openings. Also, this morning, we learned the Board failed to secure enough fuel for generators at least one poll site; we became aware of it and the Department of Education did deliver fuel to that polling site….If these were the only problems the Board of Elections encountered today, we should consider ourselves very lucky. But, unfortunately, based on its history, that is not likely to be the case.”
rock the vote
“We have some other type of crisis here, partially organized by Hurricane Sandy, partially organized by the Board of Elections,” Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny told Politicker this morning, ticking off poll sites that did not receive machines until 8:04 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. respectively, over an hour after they were scheduled to open. “My question is, if they knew, if the Board of Elections knew yesterday this was the poll site that would be assigned today, were they sleeping this morning? It disenfranchises many people.”
We asked if there might be a possibility of a re-do election.
“That is a possibility, I think,” he answered, noting all of the Hurricane Sandy-induced chaos was in the Democratic parts of his district. “I have two parts of the district. Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, which is conservative, and Coney Island and Sea Gate, which is much more liberal, and I’m a Democrat….This is all becoming totally ridiculous. This is not about me, of course. This is about 40,000 voters losing the right to vote.”
Journeys With Joe
Vice President Joe Biden traveled to his home state of Delaware to vote for himself today. After he emerged from the voting booth, reporters asked the vice president if he thought it would be his final time casting a ballot for himself.
“No, I don’t think so,” Mr. Biden said with a grin.
Dude Wheres My Ballot?
The Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn was among the hardest-hit areas by Hurricane Sandy last week and the storm’s impact is being felt as voters head to the polls today. As a result of the hurricane damage, many of Coney Island’s poll sites were changed, but according to reports on the scene, the Election Day chaos in the neighborhood sounds far worse than the planned changes.
“PS 370, which is supposed to be the ‘super’ Coney Isand poll site, there are areas where they don’t have the books to sign in, so people have to vote via affidavit,” one operative on the ground told Politicker. “Every poll site got up late. They don’t even have real police officers here, they have the recruits, police academy. They have no clue what to do, they’ve never done it before. Every site got off late because police academy got off late to open up. One of the new sites….it’s supposed to be a site, but the machines aren’t there.”
This account was echoed by other reports in Coney Island, and similar tales of voting issues in the Rockaways, which was also devastated by the hurricane.
Tomorrow’s electoral process just got a little bit easier for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Governor Andrew Cuomo acquiesced to pressure from several elected officials and good government groups this evening and signed an executive order allowing anyone registered in a federally-declared disaster area to vote by affidavit ballot or choose from one of several other alternatives.
Trying to figure out where to vote tomorrow? You’re not alone: with the presidential elections and several local races being voted on tomorrow, the state is at a loss of how to deal with the thousands of displaced citizens who no longer have a place to cast their ballot–nor any information on how to do so. Several good government groups believe an expanded provisional ballot program could improve the chaotic situation, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to approve the proposal.