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Board Of Elections Pushes Back Against Already-Approved Plan To Bring Early Voting To NYC

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An intense tug-of-war is heating up between Mayor de Blasio and the city's Board of Elections executive director, Michael Ryan.

New York's mayor wants to open 100 polling sites more than a week before Election Day to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote.

CBS2's political reporter Marcia Kramer reports that might not happen.

Last November, the BOE trotted out the "blame it on the weather" excuse for Election Day chaos that included long lines, long waits, and ballots that fell apart in jammed-up voting machines.

FLASHBACK: Election Day Angst: Voting Machines Crash All Over NYC

On Tuesday, it was the "we don't have a magic wand" excuse for why the early voting plan – already authorized by the state legislature - can't be all that de Blasio and good government groups want it to be.

"There's this sense of that this should just be 'add water and stir put a little something in and drink' and it's all going to be happy and magic, but it won't. It's gonna be tough work," Ryan said.

Ryan pushing back against de Blasio, who embraced early voting as a way to avoid another Election Day nightmare.

NYC Board of Elections director Michael Ryan (Credit: CBS2)

The mayor is reportedly allocating $75 million for 100 early voting sites which would open for nine days before the November election.

The problem with that plan is, despite an intense grilling by the city council, the board agreed to do only 38 sites.

Since the board has spurned earlier offers for city cash, CBS2's Marcia Kramer asked Ryan if the BOE will take the city's latest $75 million proposal.

"We're working through the budget process with the mayor's office… it's a little premature," Ryan replied.

The mayor, who doesn't control the BOE, yesterday labeled it the "board of excuses."

"Here come the excuses. The Board of Elections is already short-changing New Yorkers at the polls," added in a tweet Tuesday.

Ryan claimed it's hard to find places that are willing to be poll sites, hold voting machines for 12 days - including nine days of early voting. He showed councilmembers a stack of rejection letters.

"For general elections, we almost get no objections what so ever, but now we get a stack," Ryan said.

Under the new legislation, early voting will start on October 26 and include some weekend hours.  The mayor wants the board to explore transit hubs and other centrally located sites to make it easier for people to cast ballots.

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