Board of Elections Says It Cannot Afford To Pay For Primary And General Elections

Posted by

Share Button

Source: Edward-Isaac Dovere / City Hall News

New Yorkers, be prepared to choose between the primary and general election—because the city cannot afford to put on both.

As the stalemate over picking a new executive director continues, there is not enough money to cover costs for holding New York City’s November general election after paying for primary operations in September, according to the current reading of the city budget by the Board of Elections.

The assessment of the Board of Elections shortfall—pegged at approximately $19 million less than what the agency’s staff says will be necessary to conduct its appointed tasks through the coming fiscal year—was announced Tuesday at the regular meeting of the commissioners at its headquarters in Lower Manhattan.

According to finance officer John Ward, the city budget passed last week leaves the Board $9 million short of the “personnel services,” or payroll budget, and an additional $10 million short of the OTPS, or “other than personnel services” budget used to pay for the new voting machines at long last being introduced this year to bring New York into compliance with the Help America Vote Act, as well as to bring those voting machines to the polling places.

Board of Elections staff say that the current budget allocates enough money for either one drop-off and pick-up of voting machines, presumably for the primary elections, and then not to be able to pay to bring the machines back out for the general, or to leave the pricey new voting machines sitting in polling places from September through November.

“The choice is right now, we can send the truckers out and once back, but the second time becomes a question,” the Board’s general counsel, Steven Richman, explained to the commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.

The budget drama comes as the Board enters the fifth month of its deadlock over selecting a new executive director to replace Marcus Cederqvist, who resigned in February. Four Democratic commissioners along with the Staten Island Republican commissioner are backing deputy executive director George Gonzalez, while the remaining four Republican commissioners and the Staten Island Democratic commissioner are backing J.C. Polanco, the Republican commissioner from the Bronx who serves as the Board’s secretary. (Polanco arose as the Republican choice after former Council Member Anthony Como abandoned his plans to seek the post to instead run for State Senate against Joe Addabbo.)

Read the rest here.

Share Button