/Elections board staffer resigns in wake of counting snafu – POLITICO

Elections board staffer resigns in wake of counting snafu – POLITICO


Voting booths at Public School 160 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Voting booths at Public School 160 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. | David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

A Board of Elections staffer has resigned in the wake of Tuesday’s botched primary results.

Gladys Fernandez — a BOE staff analyst assigned to the electronic voting department in Queens — put in her papers after the borough office failed to catch 135,000 test ballots that were erroneously included in the official primary results Tuesday, according to two sources with knowledge of the exit and board records.

Payroll data from the Empire Center indicates Fernandez has been employed by the BOE since at least 2008 and last year pulled in a salary of more than $105,000.

A BOE spokesperson declined to comment on Friday’s resignation, indicating the board does not discuss personnel matters.

Earlier this week, the board released tallies of the first citywide primaries conducted with ranked-choice voting. But after campaigns and reporters questioned turnout figures, the BOE admitted to a discrepancy and pulled down the results. A day later, officials posted new tallies without the test ballots included. The corrected results left Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams with a thin lead over Kathryn Garcia, and Maya Wiley similarly within striking distance.

The fallout continued over the course of the week as all three leading campaigns filed lawsuits preserving their right to litigate the count. A quirk in the election law stipulates that Friday is the last day to take legal action, even though the certified results of the primary aren’t expected to be ready until the week of July 12.

Wiley was the last to head to court Thursday, and she said at a press briefing earlier in the day that voters need to be confident in the end result.

“What is most important to me — as a civil rights lawyer, as a New Yorker — and to the people of this city is that there is real clarity, that we can trust that every vote is being counted and counted accurately,” she said outside City Hall, hours before the papers were filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

A day earlier, Garcia told CNN that, while the error did not seem indicative of any fraudulence, she was worried the screw-up could nevertheless cast a pall on the outcome.

“I am concerned that it undermines people’s confidence,” she said.

Adams’ campaign was one of the first to call Tuesday’s results into question and has since released a handful of statements expressing appreciation to BOE for acknowledging the error and reminding New Yorkers that 125,000 mail-in ballots — which will decide the race — also need to be counted.

“There are still absentee ballots to be counted that we believe favor Eric — and we are confident we will be the final choice of New Yorkers when every vote is tallied,” the campaign said Wednesday.

Adams has not directly addressed the elections snafu, hasn’t held a press briefing and hasn’t appeared on camera since Tuesday’s fiasco.

Campaign adviser Evan Thies said, aside from a trip to New Jersey to see his partner, he has been in the city working since primary day.

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