FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2013
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ENCOURAGES NEW YORKERS TO VOTE AND REPORT ANY PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED AT THE POLLS
The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, September 8, 2013.
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"This Tuesday, registered Democrats and Republicans will get the chance to vote in party primaries for candidates they want to run in the city's general election on November 5th. Unfortunately, the more than 800,000 voters registered as independents are prohibited from voting in these primaries, and are also effectively barred from serving as poll workers.
"I've long believed that these barriers should be removed, so that all voters are treated equally. Not only do these obstacles prevent people from fully participating in the democratic process; they also help feed an elections bureaucracy rife with patronage, mismanagement, incompetence, and waste - which are not tolerated anywhere else in City government.
"The problem is that elections in our city are run by the notoriously dysfunctional Board of Elections. Overseen by party-named commissioners and staffed by often well-connected political appointees, the Board's dismal track record demonstrates why elections ought to be run in a non-partisan fashion. Inexplicable delays in reporting election results; misplaced and sometimes dramatically misreported returns; failures to open polling places on time or keep them operating efficiently: The sad litany of past Board of Elections bungles is a long one. And it includes the fact that, although its last executive director left under a cloud in 2010, a replacement was only recently hired.
"Overhauling the Board of Elections is a job for State officials. Unfortunately, the City has no control over this matter, and the Board has rebuffed our urgings that it adopt even the most basic accountability standards. But all of us have a responsibility to hold the Board accountable for its performance. That's why our Administration will be closely following how the primaries are conducted and how results are reported. And I want to urge all who go to the polls on Tuesday and who encounter any difficulties, or see something they don't think is right, to call 311 or describe such problems on 311 online through its link to nyc.gov. Reporting any hassles you have in casting your ballot is vital to protecting your right to fair City elections.
"Let's hope the election goes smoothly. But even if you encounter difficulties, don't give up: If you are eligible to vote, make sure your voice is heard and your ballot is cast. It's so important. This is your city; its future is in your hands. Voting is your chance to help shape it.
"And remember this, too: Just a few days ago, we observed the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march on Washington. Later this week, we'll also pause to remember all those who perished when our great democracy came under attack on 9/11. What a fitting chance Tuesday's elections also offer to honor and show our thanks to those who've struggled so hard, and in some cases sacrificed everything, to extend and protect our freedom.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
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