Opinion: It’s Broken, Fix It

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A few days ago, I thought to myself, “hmm, the Board of Elections seems to be doing okay; maybe giving them time is the right move.” Then came Tuesday, June 29th.

As regular “Racioppo Readers” know I’m a Kathryn Garcia supporter, so I was excited to see she had closed the gap with Eric Adams, and it was likely to be a hell of a fight in the absentees. Then many numbers didn’t add up, blood pressures rose, and the Board of Elections took the numbers down entirely.  The Times called it “chaos,” which is a very Times way of saying “FUBAR.” 

The source of this “chaos” was about 130,000 “votes” were part of a test run that the Board of Elections just didn’t take out of the computer. The source of chaos could’ve been anything because every election in this city it’s something. Whether it’s run-of-the-mill hackery, purging voters, sites not ready, machines not working, you name a way to screw up, and the Board of Election has either done it or will do it at some point soon. All of it leads to people losing faith in a system that requires justified belief, so we don’t have insurrections or talks of illegitimate governance every time we swear in a new Mayor. 

I  try to avoid stereotypical sports comparisons, but I’m too frustrated to think outside of my line of vision, so here goes. In sports, if the referee or umpire is part of the story, it’s because they screwed up. When that happens, to avoid future issues, the league takes the ref out of playoff games or some action that could be described as rational. However, New York, and particularly our electoral system, is not rational; what we do is the definition of insanity. What I mean is that we repeat the same thing while expecting different results. 

I’m not saying the Board Of Elections task is easy, but it’s long past time to change it if the current setup isn’t working. Unfortunately, the timing of this and waiting for results will force me to wrap up, but I‘ll close with an attempt to diagnose without specific treatment. 

There’s a  saying, “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, the Board of Elections is broken, and to not push for, and enact major reforms, is nothing more than a defense of the failed status quo.