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Queens Chronicle

Ulrich eyes jump to election board job

‘I’m up to the task’ of reforming city’s ailing voting system, he says

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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 12:38 pm, Thu Dec 5, 2019.

Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) is facing term limits on his City Council seat in 2021.

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Ulrich has quietly been exploring replacing the current executive director of the city’s Board of Elections, an agency that has been broadly criticized after a series of mishaps in recent years and longtime reputation for political patronage.

A report this week in the Gotham Gazette, an online political news site owned by Citizen’s Union, said that Ulrich had been meeting with party leaders in the five boroughs, seeking support.

The current BOE executive director is Michael Ryan, a Staten Island Democrat.

“A lot of people have lost confidence in Mr. Ryan and I put my name forward,” Ulrich told the Chronicle on Tuesday.

The Board of Elections is a quasi-independent agency made up of 10 people, one Democrat and one Republican from each borough, appointed by the county party leaders.

The board appoints the executive director and six votes are necessary to get the job.

“Right now, I don’t have the votes,” Ulrich conceded. “But I’ve been having candid conversations with county leaders and a lot of people are frustrated with the Board of Elections as it now stands.”

Ulrich, 34, has been the councilman for Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and parts of the Rockaways since 2009.

He is one of only three Republicans on the Council and the last remaining GOP officeholder in Queens.

His moderate views and willingness to work with Democrats on the Council have won him powerful friends in city politics, though whether that translates into the executive director’s job is an open question.

“It’s an enormous challenge to reform the BOE” he said, “but I’m up for the task and I think it’s long overdue.”

Despite the overwhelming advantage of Democrats in the city, Republicans have held the BOE job — which, on paper at least, is supposed to be nonpartisan — in the past.

“I’ve demonstrated my ability to work across the aisle,” Ulrich said.

Ryan has had a rocky few years. Last year, it was learned he was advising the company that supplied the city’s voting machines.

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