September 13, 2012 Maria R.

Guastella President Board of Elections in the City of New York 32 Broadway, 7th Floor New York, NY 10004-1609 Dear President Guastella: I write regarding widespread reports of problems during today’s Primary Election. On September 1st, I wrote to you about errors in the Board of Elections’ recent mailings that directed hundreds of voters to the wrong poll sites. I also put forward recommendations to help address this misinformation in the lead-up to Primary Day though better communication and poll site preparation. Based on the Board’s lack of response and complaints my office has received from across the City today, it is clear that problems have persisted. Moreover, it appears that poll site confusion and misinformation have become citywide problems in the wake of redistricting. In one case received by my office, two voters in Brooklyn’s 57th Assembly District did not receive mailers from the Board of Elections. This morning, they went to PS 316, their usual poll site. They were informed that because of redistricting, their poll site had changed, and they were directed to vote at PS 22. But upon arriving at PS 22, they were told that the poll workers they met earlier were mistaken, and that her new polling site was actually PS 9. Only after reaching their third polling place were they finally able to vote. We can take some solace that Primary voters are highly motivated, and thankfully these individuals were not deterred from voting because of today’s difficulties. It is deeply worrying that the Board of Elections was unable to execute a Primary Election smoothly, considering that only a handful of today’s races were closely contested and voters were few in number. With November’s Presidential Election looming, much more must be done immediately to prevent widespread confusion that could disenfranchise thousands of New Yorkers. In order to fully assess the scope of problems facing New York City voters, I request that the Board of Elections provide my office with a complete breakdown of all voting related complaints that were reported to the Board of Elections in the City of New York – via phone, email or other forms of communication – regarding the September 13, 2012 primary election by no later than Thursday, September 20, 2012. Specifically, the report should reference the number of constituents who reported receiving instructions from mailings or poll workers directing them to an incorrect poll site.

In addition, I urge the Board of Elections to: 1. Verify that all poll site information mailed to voters prior to November’s election is up to date and accurate; 2. Ensure poll site workers are sufficiently trained and informed about redistricting changes and can direct voters to the correct poll site on Election Day; and 3. Provide an efficient and clear affidavit voting process—and extra affidavit ballots on Election Day—so that voters facing hardship traveling to another polling site can still cast a vote. I look forward to your response to these inquiries and recommendations. Sincerely,

Bill de Blasio Public Advocate for the City of New York