By Gabriele Holtermann Posted on July 7, 2021
After the Board of Elections (BOE) bungled last week’s preliminary ranked-choice voting calculations and mistakingly added over 130,000 test votes to the original ballot count, Republican mayoral nominee Curtis Sliwa called for election integrity reform outside the Board of Elections’ office in Queens on July 6.
Alongside Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, local Republican candidates and community leaders, Sliwa opened the press conference hosted by the Queens County Republican Patriots pointing to the building behind him.
“Democrats are now experiencing what all voters have experienced, the lack of ballot integrity,” the Guardian Angels founder said. “This particular office was responsible for processing 130,000 test ballots in with all the other ballots that had been filed on election day, that didn’t even include the absentee ballots that they started to count on Monday.”
“So why would the Democrats at all have any faith in the process when both Democrats and Republicans in the Board of Elections can’t seem to the get count correct?” Sliwa asked.
Sliwa, who promises to refund the NYPD and reduce crime in NYC should he become mayor, said he wants to know which one of the three leading Democratic mayoral candidates — Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, or Maya Wiley — was going to be his “adversary” in the general election on Nov. 2. Adams seems poised to clinch the Democratic nominee after the BOE released updated results Tuesday night.
Ahead of those results being released, Sliwa called the BOE “completely incompetent,” and showed compassion for the democratic contenders .
“It’s not fair to their staff. It’s not fair to these individuals, many of whom have been running for over two years, to come down to this process and again depend on the board of elections,” Sliwa said before calling for the abolishment of the BOE and to simplify the voting process.
“We generally knew by midnight who had won the election. We have complicated the process,” Sliwa said. “We have introduced technology to the process, yet voters, independents, Democrats, and Republicans are confused all the more.”
He also suggested getting rid of the petitioning process, which would give candidates — regardless of party affiliation — an equal opportunity to run for office.
“The arcane positions that both the Democrats and Republicans take in the BOE is time and time again to knock candidates off the ballot and not give men and women an adequate opportunity to represent their parties and independent candidates in the general election,” Sliwa declared.
Joe Concannon, the leader of the Queens County Republican Patriots, pointed out that they had 30 candidates running on the Republican party line in Queens, but they were disqualified by the Queens BOE based on a technicality.
Concannon said the Queens County Republican Patriots are accusing the Queens BOE of collusion with local political GOP leaders and weaponizing the election process to get party-approved candidates elected.
Concannon demanded that a federal monitor supervise the “bureaucrats and partisans” of the BOE who “corrupt the process” and suggested that anyone who wants to run for office pay a small registration fee instead of collecting signatures to get on the ballots.
He also reported that six electoral districts in which he ran for state committee only reported 55 percent of the votes.
“In an electronic voting system, where the hell are the 45% of missing votes? How does that happen?” Concannon asked.
Scherie Murray, who was running for a fourth term as state committeewoman representing the 29th Assembly District in Queens, did not qualify for the primary election ballot even though she had collected enough signatures.
Murray explained that the BOE used a timestamp issue to disqualify her. The BOE alleges that her separate cover sheets showed the exact same timestamp of 10:57 am, disregarding the fact that the timestamp machines don’t calculate seconds.
Earlier, Phil Orenstein with the Queens Village Republican Club had called the timestamp machines outdated. The machines only read minutes, and Orenstein called on the BOE to update the “ridiculous old machines” to read seconds.
“We want them to change the outdated, ridiculous old equipment to read seconds. That’s what we’re asking,” Orenstein said. “So no person running for office has to go through what I went through, what all of us went through because of these draconian, crazy authoritarian rules that they put on us.”
Murray held up a note that explained the objection. It reads that the cover sheets were filed simultaneously on March 25, 2021, at 10:57 a.m., and accused her of filing two separate cover sheets for herself and other candidates at the same time. The objection further claims that “this was a clear intent to prevent the objector from discerning which cover sheet the candidate intended to be controlling and to deceive the Board of Elections and an objector.”
“They could not discern second by second. Therefore, they could not discern which cover sheet was controlling,” Murray said,
Andrew Giuliani, who is seeking to replace New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2022, said that there is no accountability on the part of the BOE. He stressed that New York City residents deserved to know who Curtis Sliwa would face on Nov. 2 and that elections “should be clear.”
“That’s what an election should ultimately be,” the young Giuliani said. “When our founding fathers created this system, when they ultimately decided to take us away from a monarchy and allow the people to decide, what they wanted to create was a system that was going to be clear and was going to be streamlined and fast.”
Giuliani also called for voter identification to protect the integrity of elections.
“When we take back the governor’s mansion on Nov. 8 of 2022, we should make sure that every single New York state voter ultimately has a voter identification,” Giuliani said. “So to me, this is something that is just American. There is nothing red; there is nothing blue about this; this is just right versus wrong.”