When it comes to navigating the Board of Elections about the process of running elections including putting Party members on county committees, hiring of poll workers, voter registrations, and petitioning for candidates, 46th Assembly District Republican Female Leader Lucretia Regina-Potter – has long been the go-to person – even among several Democratic district leaders.
And since June of last year, and as first reported in KCP. Regina-Potter has been strongly telling anybody that would listen that the BOE was purging voters from its roles illegally and indiscriminately – stating that nearly 11,000 of the borough’s roughly 112,000 registered Republicans were being purged from voter registration records and probably a good deal more Democrats.
But nobody from either Party would listen until WNYC reported the week before the Presidential Primary that some 125,000 Democratic voters were dropped from the city’s voting rolls.
As such, Regina-Potter maintains that the suspension without pay of Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the BOE chief clerk is just a scapegoat for the entire commission, which consists of one Democrat and one Republican appointee from each borough.
“Back in July all the (BOE) commissioners were very aware of the purge, and anything that is done has to be with the knowledge of both parties,” said Regina-Potter.
Regina-Potter said she became aware of the purge last year, which was the Republican year to fill the county committee member slate as the GOP does this in the odd years and the Democrats do it in the even years. However, when she went with the paperwork on who was on the county committee she found several long time Republicans purged from the voting rolls and therefore unable to serve on the county committee.
“The book of voter registrations comes out in March and they (BOE) put out new books in June without telling anybody, and purged everybody that didn’t vote in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections even if they voted in midterm congressional and state senate and assembly elections, she said.
Regina-Potter said she then went to the June BOE Commissioners meeting and was told voters would go from being active to purged, sidestepping the process where voters go from active to inactive to purged.
“I was outraged, and (election attorney) Aaron Maslow and all the other lawyers there were having a fit,” recalled Regina-Potter.
Regina-Potter said the purging stemmed from a 2013 Department of Investigation edict to purge the rolls of voters that have died or moved out of the district. Regina-Potter said the best way to have done this was to check voting records with the Board of Health to see if the voter was deceased and the Post Office to see if voters moved out of the area.
The sordid history of the purging of voters comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $20 million of city taxpayer money to the BOE to fund reforms including the hiring of an outside operations consultant, empaneling a blue-ribbon commission to identify failures, enhancing poll worker training, and providing new email and text notifications for voters.
In addition, the City will advance State legislation that transfers responsibility of day-to-day operations and personnel decisions from the BOE commissioners to executive management.
“The Board of Elections is an outdated organization in dire need of modernization – and we need to make these changes now. We cannot allow a single voter to be disenfranchised because of the Board of Elections’ outdated operations. These common-sense reforms will bring much-needed transparency, modernize practices, and help ensure we do not experience an election day like last week’s again,” said de Blasio.