It's been a few years since I wrote about the
problems with the partisan, or "bipartisan," administration of local elections
One thing that arisen from this year's election is a strong feeling
that it is high time that New York City's Board of Elections be reformed.
Hopefully, this process will get a great deal of publicity, and
become a guide for other communities.
The principal problem in New York City, as in many other cities and
counties throughout the country, is the state's election laws.
According to an article this week in the New York Times
, the state
constitution "sets the parameters for how all elections in the state
are managed, requiring that Republicans and Democrats be equally
represented at all levels of election administration."
In other words, bipartisanship is the rule. Bipartisanship means control of the election process by the two major
parties, which can't manage to agree on very much other than keeping
the powerless members of minor parties (not to mention those who have chosen not to
register as a member of either party) not only out of power, but
also out of election administration. The two major parties have ensured their control of
elections not only in laws, but also in constitutions, which are much harder to change. If this were to
happen in a poor country, we would call it a power grab and insist
that election boards be as nonpartisan as possible, including people
from all parties and as many independents as possible.