When the famous New Yorker in his twenties held a Democratic primary in June, there was reason to think that no one knew his mayor’s choice because his father was the current mayor.
After all, Dante de Blasio, the son of Mayor Bill de Blasio, was not given that privacy.
In a report released Monday by the Institute for Electoral Innovation at Princeton University, researchers erroneously voted 378 New Yorkers in the primary due to a failure by the New York Electoral College. He said he allowed him to do so. These voters include the mayor’s son and former New York City Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steele.
According to state law, the report’s findings suggest a breach of secret ballot, one of America’s most valuable guarantees, because the information is supposed to be confidential. It represents another drawback of the society.
“I’m appalled by this invasion of privacy,” registered Democrat Dante de Blasio said through his father, a spokesman for the mayor. “My main concern is not that people know who I voted for, but that the BOE has repeatedly shown complete incompetence and has not yet been reformed by the state. Hundreds of fellow voters had the right to private voting, which was violated by the BOE’s explicit carelessness.
Researchers can cross-reference the New York City voter file (list of all registered voters, whether they voted, address) with the board’s voter record to view the voter records of individual New York City voters. I was able to identify it. It contained hundreds of voting areas where only one ballot was thrown.
These precincts included the precincts of Mr. De Blasio, who is registered with the Gracie Mansion, and the precincts of Mr. Steele, a registered Republican who lives in NoHo, a highly democratic region of Manhattan.
According to researchers, Dante de Blasio ranked Maya Wiley as the mayor’s first choice in the June Democratic primary, followed by Eric Adams, Kathryn Garcia, Raymond McGuire, and Shaun Donovan. Followed.
When contacted by phone, Steele said he was wary and disappointed that he was on the list of identifiable voters, but declined to comment further.
Due to the small number of Republicans in New York City, it was easier for researchers to identify Republican voting records like Mr Steele than Democratic voting records. Democratic registration here is almost 7 to 1 higher than Republican registration. As of August, there were only 19 Republicans registered in Steele’s voting district.
The problem of eliminating data anonymity by cross-referencing datasets is fairly common, and there is a whole area of mathematics dedicated to finding ways to share data while preserving privacy.
The New York City Election Commission is not considered one of the most sophisticated data managers. In June, the board had to erroneously announce the wrong vote count for the most important mayoral primary of its generation, withdraw it, and count the votes again.
This was the first mayoral primary in the city’s history to use a vote of ranked choices, allowing city voters to rank up to five mayoral choices in order of priority. Under this system, if no candidate has won the majority, the bottom winner is excluded. Instead, votes for the second option of those who supported the finalist were counted. This process continued until there was a winner.
The winner was Adams, who will face Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa in the November general election.
The new voting system turned out to be a challenge for the board, which repeatedly refused technical assistance from suppliers of the software used to aggregate ranked votes.
On September 13, board officials discussed the findings of the report with the authors. Professor Samwan, who heads Princeton’s Election Innovation Lab. Jesse T. Clark, a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.And Lindsey Cormac, Associate Professor of Political Science at Stevens Institute of Technology.
In that conversation, board officials said they believed that legal reporting requirements forced them to publish their voting records in a particular format.
“The way election results are reported is legally required,” Board spokeswoman Valerie Diaz said in an email.
Researchers have recommended a single-vote constituency for board groups with adjacent larger constituencies to avoid such easy identification. The practices claimed by the board require changes to the city charter.
Researchers say that whatever the legal solution is, the board should pursue it.
“We think our votes are private and our choices are private and we enter the ballot box,” said Professor Cormac.
A good government group was relieved by the limited nature of the problem.
Approximately one million New York City residents voted in the June primary, revealing only 378 votes.
“This is a minimal issue,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Causes / New York. “This is only a small part of the total number of voters. And they are absolutely right, it’s easy to solve this problem.”
Kate Conger contributed to the report.