Earlier today, New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez published a fairly damning report on the Board of Elections and their interaction with Congressman Charlie Rangel’s reelection campaign, notably that Timothy Gay, the deputy chief clerk for Manhattan’s Board of Elections — AKA “the person currently supervising the count of the votes in the Manhattan part of the 13th Congressional District” — held a meeting in Harlem with “key Rangel campaign operatives, and with district leaders supporting Rangel” right before Election Day. Additionally, Mr. Gonzalez reported, “[U]ntil now, no one has mentioned more than 2,000 additional paper votes the board’s staff tossed out this week as invalid.”
And Mr. Rangel’s opponent, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who is currently down by about 900 votes with absentee ballots from his electoral base yet to be counted, isn’t thrilled at the news. His campaign spokesman emailed the story to the media, referring to it as “new findings of impropriety at the Board of Elections,” and politicos supporting Mr. Espaillat have been repeatedly tweeting their frustration.
“This is like us finding out GW Bush campaign staff secretly met with Florida BOE to conspire before Election Day 2000,” John Gagain, a senior adviser to the campaign, wrote, blasting the “Incumbency mafia” he said is behind the wheel of democracy in the city.
Another staffer, Vivian Nuñez Antia, declared the story’s findings as “just PLAIN wrong,” and both Ms. Antia and Mr. Gagain retweeted another individual bashing the Board of Elections for “flagrant banana republic-style activism on Rangel’s behalf.”
The board has not taken kindly to this rhetoric, and in an interview last night — before Mr. Gonzalez published his report — Board of Elections Commissioner J.C. Polanco returned fire on the Espaillat campaign, labeling insinuations of wrongdoing as “malicious, vicious and false allegations.”
Mr. Palanco also blamed Albany for not passing legislation to modernize the Board of Elections’ counting process, but Mr. Gagain wasn’t impressed with that excuse either, saying, “This is like the bank robber blaming Congress for not passing the jobs bill.”