Election Day Updates from Common Cause/NY

Electioneering in the 40th Council District; broken machines; interpreters denied entrance into poll sites

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NEW YORK, NY (11/07/2017) (readMedia)-- As Election Day in New York State rolls on, here are updates from Common Cause/NY on interpreter restrictions, electioneering, and broken machines:

1. From 8:30-11:30AM, Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY, went to six poll sites in Southern Brooklyn to work to help ensure that Russian and Haitian Creole interpreters were able to properly assist voters despite opposition from the New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE). At the six locations, interpreters were either forced to sit 100 feet outside of the polling site, per the BOE's inappropriate instructions, or nowhere to be found as opposed to by the entrance or inside the poll site itself, where voters would most readily find them. At one site, interpreters were placed by poll workers on the opposite side of the street from the 100 foot limit, and Susan Lerner relocated them to the same side of the street as the polling location. In addition to cold weather, it began to rain in the afternoon, causing interpreters to get soaked.

2. Several people have reported that Councilmember Eugene is electioneering inside of poll sites where he does not vote. This is clearly against New York Election law. In response, Susan Lerner issued the following statement:

"According to photographic evidence on social media and multiple complaints, Council Member Eugene appears to be flouting NY Election Law barring electioneering by entering multiple poll sites in which he is not casting a vote. It's up to the Board and the NYPD to remove candidates who violate the rules and discipline them promptly. This represents an egregious and ongoing disrespect for our democracy by Council Member Eugene. The Board should be less concerned with impartial interpreters helping voters and focus instead on evidence of alleged egregious violations of the ban on electioneering by a council member running for re-election," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

3. This morning, scanners were down at a poll site in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Voters were asked to come back later.

Common Cause/NY will update throughout the day and into the night.


Last month, the New York City Board of Elections (NYCBOE) settled a lawsuit with Common Cause/NY, admitting it broke state and federal law when it purged nearly 200,000 voters from the rolls ahead of the presidential primary in April 2016.

In the settlement, NYCBOE agreed to:

  • Place the NYC BOE under a consent decree that will last at least through the November 2020 election.
  • Adopt detailed procedures to ensure that eligible voters are not designated for removal in error, identify procedures used for reinstating improperly removed voters, and produce monthly and annual reports identifying the voters who are being removed the rolls or otherwise subjected to list maintenance.
  • Develop a centralized process allowing the NYC BOE to review voter registration data from borough offices, adopt a training program for list maintenance, and update training manuals and materials.
  • Conduct an annual audit of list maintenance procedures, and permit the New York Attorney General's office to conduct semi-annual audits.
  • Other enforcement remedies, such as allowing Plaintiffs the ability to object to Board rules or regulations related to list maintenance that fails to ensure compliance with federal law.