‘Nobody Will Ever Know Who Really Won’

It takes something special to unite the New York Post and the New York Times, but the city’s Board of Elections has managed the feat, earning condemnation from the source of perhaps the worst-ever newspaper headline as well as the home of some of the best.

It’s not hard to figure out why. The agency has still not managed to finish counting the results of the Democratic mayoral primary that was held nearly two weeks ago. It promises results on Tuesday, after the three-day holiday weekend. Even worse, the board released a set of incorrect numbers last week that were apparently the result of forgetting to purge placeholder test ballots from the system.

Among the board’s excuses are that pandemic rules and the introduction of ranked-choice voting has simply overwhelmed its limited resources. But Maine, not exactly famed for its exceptional state governance, successfully managed in November to count more ranked-choice votes than were cast last month in New York. Maine officials were deeper in pandemic restrictions then and had to gather ballots across an area about the size of Hungary.

As anyone who has ever lived in New York can attest, the city and the state are political basket cases. Aside from perpetual bipartisan corruption in Albany, there’s the actual conduct of the elections. It took nearly six weeks for the state to sort out its 2020 results, and to no one’s surprise, the biggest malefactor was the city’s Board of Elections. The city board has long been known to be a patronage-powered disaster, but the city politicians and their hangers-on who benefit from the sinecures have so far defeated all efforts to clean house.

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