Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the city's Board of Elections an ultimatum: Open 100 poll sites for early voting and get $75 million.
"We're saying very clearly to the Board of Elections: We'll put our money where our mouth is," de Blasio said at a news conference. "Now, are you ready to take up this task? Are you ready to do the right thing?"
The board, however, has not jumped at the offer. That didn't change when board officials appeared before the City Council on Friday.
"November is a launching point, not an ending point," said Mike Ryan, the board's leader.
So far, the Board of Elections (BOE) has selected 38 early poll sites across the city where voters will be able to cast ballots for nine days ahead of Election Day this fall. That's far from the mayor's target of 100.
(Where the early voting poll sites would be located in the five boroughs.)
The board's executive director told NY1 that he is still planning on getting that money from the city.
Ryan: The number of poll sites that have been presently announced is a work in progress and everything is under consideration by the commissioners. I also am mindful of the fact that I am an employee and I can't speak for my bosses.
Gross: But you're still relying on that money, that's what I'm saying.
Ryan: It's part of the plan. Certainly that's part of the plan. We rely on budget money all the time.
It's a perplexing position given the fractured relationship between City Hall and the board.
Earlier this month, the city gave board officials a list of 200 poll sites that could be used for early voting. Board officials said some of those sites were unacceptable.
"They gave us sites, but they didn't give us sites that are ADA-accessible [Americans with Disabilities Act], for sure," Dawn Sandow, the board's deputy executive director, testified at the City Hall hearing. "Or sites with the square footage that we need."
A spokeswoman for the mayor denied that, saying the board was making excuses.
When the news of the day reached the mayor in Iowa as he was campaigning for president, he voiced his usual disappointment with the city BOE.
"I said here is $75 million and all we are asking is you do 100 or more early voting poll sites. Then they said they were having trouble with a list, so we gave them a list of 200 sites. It's just a no-brainer," de Blasio said. "I don't even understand anymore what this game is at the Board of Elections."
The mayor had given the board a deadline of May 29 to pick 100 poll sites. As of now, it seems unlikely that the board will meet it.
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