Mayor, Board Of Elections At Odds Over Rescheduling Next Year's Primary
Mayor Michael Bloomberg denounced on Monday a proposal to move the city primary from September to June next year, while city Board of Elections officials said it will be impossible to pull off a primary and a likely run-off election the way the calendar currently stands. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
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City elections officials want to scrap 2013's political calendar by moving the city primary from September to June. Officials at the New York City Board of Elections say they will not have enough time to process the votes cast in the city's September primary and prepare for a likely run-off election two weeks later.
"I think it would be a terrible idea," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday.
BOE officials said the new voting machines require more review than the old lever machines.
"It just really seems like an impossibility to get all that done in 15 days," said BOE official Raphael Savino.
Albany lawmakers would have to sign off on any such move. And if approved, it would dramatically reshape the political season for the city's 2013 races, including the fight for City Hall.
"We understand that this isn't as sexy as marriage equality or the budget and everything else. But it is important and it affects the 4.6 million voters that we have in New York City," said BOE Commissioner J.C. Polanco.
Bloomberg said an earlier primary date would be bad for democracy.
"I think the later it is, the more chance candidates have to enter the race, the more chance there is for candidates to build support, raise money, explain to the public what they would do if they were elected," said the mayor.
The primary issue was raised at a Monday City Council hearing on a package of elections bills. Supporters said the legislation is designed to engage more voters and improve the city's elections system.
"Nothing in our democracy is more important than securing the right to vote," said Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander.
Election officials were resistant to some of the bills before the City Council, including one that would require the Board Of Elections to submit performance data each year to City Hall, just as other city agencies are required to do. They argued it would compromise the BOE's independence.