City Can't Afford 2010 Elections, Board Says

Uncertainties persist in fall elections

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The court-ordered election that allowed residents of one New York town to flip the lever six times for one candidate — and produced a Hispanic winner — could expand to other towns.

    The City can't afford both primary and general election races this year, the Board of Elections says.

    A projected $19 million shortfall in the board's budget means that the city might have to choose between either the primaries or the general election because there's not enough funding to hold both, the Board announced at its regular commissioners meeting in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday night, City Hall News reports.

    At the meeting, Finance Officer John Ward said that the city's budget, passed last week, puts the Board short $9 million for staffing.  The other $10 million shortfall comes from the budget for purchasing and transporting the new voting machines this year required under the Help America Vote Act.

    “The choice is right now, we can send the truckers out and once back, but the second time becomes a question,” Board of Elections General Counsel Steven Richman said at the meeting about the transportation concerns, City Hall News reports.

    Bloomberg's office dismissed the Board's concerns.  "This funding is in place for the Board to carry out its responsibilities and it should do so," spokesman Marc LaVorgna said at the meeting.

    Budget woes aren't the only ambiguity surrounding the City's 2010 elections. The question of whether to abolish partisan primaries will probably not be on the ballot, despite Mayor Bloomberg's strong support of putting the proposal before voters this year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    The Charter Revision Commission is still debating what proposals will be on the ballot, but  "the likelihood is low" that partisan primaries will be one of the questions, Commission Chairman Matthew Goldstein told the Journal.  Bloomberg has been opposed to partisan primaries since his first gubernatorial campaign in 2001, but potential 2013 mayoral candidates have recently criticized Bloomberg's standpoint.

    The bottom line is that nothing's final yet.  Deputy Executive Director George Gonzales told the Board that he would submit a budget plan for the 2010 by July 16.