Add basic ethics to long list of the Board of Elections’ failures

If demonstrated incompetence isn’t enough to force change at the city Board of Elections, how about ethical no-no’s?

NY1 caught the board’s executive director, Michael Ryan, failing to report five trips paid for by the company that makes the city’s ballot scanners.

Ryan did report four other trips, and blames clerical errors for the ones he didn’t. He also notes that his unpaid service on an advisory board for the company, Election Systems & Software, was cleared by the city Conflict of Interest Board.

(Sigh: The COIB has a long record of going easy on high-level folks while dropping the hammer on underlings for less egregious lapses — but that’s another editorial.)

Note that Ryan soft-pedaled criticism of ES&S’s DS-200 scanning machines after the chaos on Election Day, which saw more than 10,000 scanner complaints recorded, compared to just 2,000 in 2016. Instead, he blamed an “untested” two-page ballot, plus the day’s high humidity, for jamming the machines.

He also said it’s past time to replace those machines. He would, of course, have a say in what company to go to for the new ones. Would he favor the firm that’s been giving him freebies?

This flap might endanger Ryan’s job, which still seemed secure despite the November nightmares. Firing him is up to the city’s 10 election commissioners — one Democrat and one Republican from each borough, named by the county party chairmen.

In the end, those political hacks care most about patronage positions at the board — some of the last such jobs the parties still control. How many Election Day disasters will it take to force reform of this system?

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