New York City Board of Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco isn’t happy that State Senator Adriano Espaillat and newspaper editorials are bashing the agency’s ballot-counting operation after last Tuesday’s vote. On Inside City Hall last night, Mr. Palanco simply unloaded on all of them, calling allegations that they may have tilted the process towards Mr. Espaillat’s rival, Rep. Charlie Rangel, “vicious,” “malicious,” “false,” “terrible” and more.
“When we allow for the editorials in New York City to tell our story, when we allow for columnists and other individuals and elected officials who honestly are doing a disservice to their community by not understanding election law, … [to be] going out there and blasting the hardworking men and women at the Board of Elections, we think it’s appalling,” he argued.
Mr. Palanco was particularly upset with Mr. Espaillat and his close ally, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, for highlighting “irregularities” on Election Day.
“We have spent the last week listening to Senator Espaillat and Councilman Rodriguez launch terrible attacks, malicious, vicious and false allegations against the hardworking men and women at the New York City Board of Elections,” he said. “I frankly think should apologize not only to the commissioners, but the countless workers we have at the board.”
The commissioner also argued that Mr. Espaillat was wrong when he charged that bilingual poll site workers were reduced in heavily Latino areas. Mr. Espaillat, of course, is of Dominican descent and his electoral base includes many voters whose English language skills are still rudimentary.
“Absolutely not, which is why it’s so appalling to hear these allegations,” he responded when asked if he heard any of these sorts of complaints. “We understand the importance of having a Spanish translator at the poll sites. We spent the entire day visiting every single poll site in our county. We would receive phone calls if there were any issues. Guess what? There weren’t any issues!”
Mr. Palanco can probably expect the criticism to continue, however. Earlier this morning, the Daily News reported that the Board of Election official currently overseeing the count met with key campaign operatives for Mr. Rangel mere days before the election.