By: Hadassa Kalatizadeh
The Board of Elections allegedly can’t even count their own tablets.
As reported by the NY Post, the scandal tainted NYC vote counting board can’t even keep track of thousands of computer tablets it utilizes for poll books, to train staff and to transmit unofficial results on Election Night. An audit by The Department of Investigation in March revealed the failures as they examined the Board of Elections headquarters and borough offices. The iPads had been doled out as part of the $24 million effort to digitalize NYC’s outdated poll books, which voters must sign before casting their ballots. Records show that the BOE purchased 10,000 iPads from Know Ink in 2019 to use as poll books.
As per the Post, the only BOE office that could keep track of the Apple ipads was the Brooklyn operation. An official at the Queens office guessed that they kept roughly 800 of the poll pads on hand, but didn’t have a firm count, as per the DOI. The BOE offices in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island didn’t keep an inventory count either. “None of the other [facilities] managed a centralized master list or database of onsite poll pads,” DOE inspectors wrote in a letter to the BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan on April 8.
The DOI blamed the BOE’s Poll Site Devices Unit, which is in charge of ordering tablets and tracking the devices. Investigators “found it to be disorganized, unkempt and in general disarray,” it stated. “Although DOI observed some tablets stored in a locked storage room, a majority of tablets were stored in unlocked storage carts or crats or on desks and tables.”
The review also found that BOE officials neglected to keep count of the agency’s Microsoft Surface tablets, which are used to transmit unofficial results after the polls close on Election Night, check in poll workers and train staff.
“The NYC BOE is a dysfunctional relic of New York City’s corrupt past,” said John Kaehny, executive director of reform group Reinvent Albany. “It’s a patronage pit and the state should give the city the power to abolish it and replace it with a non-partisan, professionally staffed, agency modeled on the Campaign Finance Board.” The BOE had already been under fire for throwing out 84,000 mail ballots from the 2020 Democratic primary due to technical issues.
BOE spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez responded to say, “All electronic equipment associated with Election operations is accounted for. There is no missing equipment”.