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Board Of Elections Defends Performance On Election Day

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After confusion swept through some poll sites on Election Day, the Board of Elections is defending its performance and attempting to determine which ballots will actually count. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

The reviews are in, and the Board of Elections should brace itself.

"It was just a nightmare," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"All of this says to the public, 'it's a challenge to vote, don't try it,'" said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer.

Commissioners and staff members on Tuesday saw things differently.

One week after thousands of New Yorkers waited in meandering lines to vote, the New York City Board of Elections was digesting their performance.

Broken machines. Long waits. The fact they ran out of affidavit ballots.

The board contends it wasn't their fault. The governor's last minute executive order opening up poll sites to hard hit New Yorkers is what caused confusion.

"If we had gotten even a hint of what was going on, we would have been in a much better position," said BOE Commissioner Frederic Umane.

That's why they ran out of ballots, and the envelopes for them. It's why some called poll sites were called chaotic, why poll workers were overwhelmed and why officials said some affidavit ballots were secured in garbage bags.

The board has more than 300,000 affidavit ballots to wade through, some handwritten, some without signatures. They are trying to figure out whether some of the ballots will be counted at all.

"I am not sure what we are going to do," Umane said. "We still have to decide this."

Some advocates and officials want to make sure this never happens again. They are calling for fundamental changes at the Board of Elections.

"We got to find a way to fix this," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams.

Making changes to the Board of Elections could be a heavy lift. Ultimately, it's not up to City Hall. It's up to the state legislature in Albany.

"Real change needs to happen in Albany and real change needs to happen in the city," said Assemblyman Brian Kavanaugh. "There are changes that can be done directly by the Board of Elections with the oversight of the City Council."

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