After widespread reports of voter disenfranchisement during last Tuesday’s New York primary, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed reforming the city’s Board of Elections on Monday.
Mayor de Blasio announced that $20 million would be made available to fund reforms concerning future elections in the city, his reported. The proposed reforms cover a variety of election issues from hiring outside consultants to improving email communication with voters.
"The Board of Elections is an outdated organization in dire need of modernization — and we need to make these changes now," the mayor said in a statement. "We cannot allow a single voter to be disenfranchised because of the Board of Elections’ outdated operations."
The mayor’s office proposals included hiring a consultant to analyze the April 19 primary, developing a panel of election experts and increasing poll workers’ training and salaries.
“These common-sense reforms will bring much-needed transparency, modernize practices, and help ensure we do not experience an election day like last week’s again,” de Blasio said.
The proposed reforms also included ways to directly reach voters, including sending email and text notifications, creating absentee ballot tracking, adding poll site signage and hiring a logistics specialist to address Election Day issues, the mayor’s office stated.
The mayor’s reform announcement came as his administration was responding to a memo from Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman alleging potential fundraising wrong-doing during de Blasio’s most recent campaign to become mayor, according to the New York Daily News.
In her memo, Sugarman alleged that de Blasio’s camp would solicit donations to local committees that would, in turn, quickly transfer those donations to individual candidates, the Daily News added.
"We want to get everything out. ... But from my vantage point, everything was done legally and appropriately," de Blasio was quoted by ABC7, talking about the allegations against his office.