By EDITORIAL BOARD
Following the polarizing 2016 election we have seen political engagement rise dramatically. Heading into today’s election, all indications that turnout was going to be high, even though there were only a few competitive races scattered around the city. The most likely indication of this was the 2.5% increase in voter rolls for Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated over the past year, statewide.
So with all the enthusiasm in tow, hard-charging New Yorkers woke up and braved at times pouring rain to turn out and perform their civic duty. By mid-morning, the complaints began to roll in.
@JGoldny: Wife just left two hour line at our polling place bc needs to take care of our kids. Line is bc rain ruined the multil-million dollar machines. Perhaps instead of a civic Engagement Commission someone should have proposed a @BOENYC reform commission??
@bradlander: TFW it’s 12:30 and pouring rain, your poll-site is a mosh-pit, there’s a line of umbrellas down the block waiting to vote … and they’ve set up an “End of Line” sign like it’s an amusement park. Glad for the huge turnout, angry it’s 2018 and we still don’t have #EarlyVoting.
@jtwaggy: At polls in Astoria, Queens. 2 of 10 machines are working. Workers say line has around the room all day #MidtermElections2018
@mgdendekker: These scanners suck ! Most important election of our lives and almost every scanner is down at multiple sites. @BOENYC @nytimes @NYDailyNews @nypost @NYCMayorsOffice @NYCMayor @NYGovCuomo
Perhaps the most salient was the Speaker of the City Council Corey Johnson:
@NYCSpeakerCoJo: Voting should not be this difficult. @BOENYC has had all year to prepare for this day. Bad weather and high turnout are no excuse when we have forecasts for both. Michael Ryan needs to resign and we need a full top to bottom review of what went wrong today.
Or maybe Errol Louis:
@errollouis: Not that I have a lot of free time, but I’m up to join/organize a statewide coalition of news organizations (especially editorial boards) to demand a fix before the 2020 elections. Maybe @nytimes wants to take the lead?
In the pouring rain, with voter rolls up and enthusiasm palpable, the cause for the voting crisis in New York City on election day was due to “high voter turnout, and to rain.” This is a disgrace. Every year New Yorkers endure similar problems, but with this perfect storm leading to increased civic engagement, the response from the Board of Elections is the turnout was to high and it rained?
Given the systemic problems at the Board of Elections over a sustained period of time, and the latest election day disaster, we agree with Speaker Corey Johnson — Michael Ryan needs to resign immediately, and an investigation into how this happened needs to begin. Following the findings, the Governor should impanel a commission to come up with a clear vision on how to fix this mess. Voting in New York is already absurdly inconvenient and complex, we can’t afford to have a den of bureaucrats mishandling the closest everyday citizens come to having the power to affect change.
Enough is enough. We must do better.