Test ballot blunder in primary 'upsetting,' says city Board of Elections commissioner
The city Board of Elections certified the results from last month's primary elections on Tuesday, bringing an end to an election that saw ranked choice voting in action for the first time on a citywide scale. The Board of Elections has been mostly silent during the process, until Wednesday.
Board of Elections Commissioner Miguelina Camilo spoke to News 12 about the primary, including the 130,000 test ballots that sent shockwaves through the first round of results.
"It was very upsetting because all the commissioners, all the staff, we were firmly in agreement of producing an election and producing a process to deliver these results that was open, and that the public can have a first-hand look at it. We didn't want to keep anyone in the dark, and we took the hit for opening ourselves up and showing that the process isn't perfect," she said.
When asked why the test ballots weren't removed before unofficial results were posted to the BOE website, Camilo said, "The step of removing the test ballots wasn't done because it wasn't something that would be isolated in our normal process."
Commissioner Camilo adds that while the BOE asked for approval in December from the state Board of Elections for the software used to count the ranked choice votes, that approval didn't come until May, just weeks before the election.
"We were all waiting for that point to be able to start our testing and start doing what we needed to do to make sure that the ranked choice ballots were going to be prepared and available on time. But I'll say this, I'm not about pointing fingers. We have a lot of different partners, including the state board that we must work with," Camilo said.
All of this caught the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio -- who, shortly after the mistake was made, called for a "total overhaul" of the city Board of Elections.
"And if that happens, we would conform. I would say, it's easy to make a comment that there needs to be a complete overhaul focusing on one incident where there was a mistake and we corrected it," Camilo said.
She added that the BOE learned that "it's OK to take some more time to deliver information because we want it to be correct."
Commissioner Camilo says despite recent calls to roll back ranked choice voting, there weren't many issues with people understanding or submitting their ballot.
Ranked choice voting will not be used in the general election this November, only in primaries and special elections.