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October 19, 2010


DiNapoli Report: All NYC Boroughs Reported Voting Problems on Primary Day

DiNapoli Makes Recommendations to Increase Privacy and Decrease Problems for Election Day

The New York City Board of Elections reported voting problems in all five boroughs on primary day ranging from privacy issues to polls opening late, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

"The Board of Elections wasn't ready on Primary Day and some New Yorkers lost the opportunity to exercise their right to vote," DiNapoli said. "There's nothing worse than a democracy that can't hold an election. It's two weeks until Election Day, and it's two weeks for the board to get its act together. The board must guarantee that every vote counts. There's nothing more vital to our democracy than ensuring no one is disenfranchised."

DiNapoli's review of the city Board of Elections found voters encountered numerous problems in voting districts throughout the city during the primary elections. Problems included late poll site openings, privacy concerns, machine malfunctions, difficulty reading ballots and insufficient poll worker training.

The report revealed a number of problems:

  • numerous reports of poll sites opening up to two and half hours late;
  • sixty poll sites in Manhattan opened late;
  • privacy concerns such as the failure to provide privacy sleeves which left ballots in the view of poll workers and poll workers standing too close to voters while their ballots were inserted into the scanner;
  • more than 700 polling sites experienced voting machine malfunctions including paper jams and broken machines that needed to be swapped out or repaired;
  • difficulty reading ballots because the font size was too small; and
  • forty-three percent of poll workers sampled had not been properly trained.
DiNapoli’s report recommends the city Board of Elections:
  • enhance coordination with the New York City Department of Education so voting machines can be delivered to poll sites as scheduled;
  • instruct poll workers on how they can help voters while still respecting voters’ privacy;
  • ensure voting machines are in good working order and properly tested, and that backup machines are available as replacements; and
  • properly train all poll workers scheduled to work.

To view the report, visit:



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