New York City’s Board of Elections has complained for weeks that the electronic voting machines first used in 2010 cannot handle the city’s tight primary elections schedule. But one solution, endorsed by the board and under consideration in Albany, seems absurd. The board and the State Legislature are talking about scrapping the new machines and replacing them with the old metal clunkers, with their creaky levers, that went out of production more than 30 years ago. The issue arises because the primary elections are set for Sept. 10. State law requires a runoff two weeks later if no one receives more than 40 percent of the vote in citywide races, which seems likely with at least five competitive candidates in the Democratic mayoral race. But the board claims it needs more than two weeks to reset the electronic machines and print new ballots.
Another problem could arise if a recount is required. The board’s policy is to have recounts done by hand, which could also be impossible within the statutory two-week period. Representatives of Elections Systems and Software, the company that made the machines, says that the board should be able to give an accurate count within hours after the vote. In the event of a recount, the company has offered to sell or lease the city high-powered scanners to re-tally the entire vote in about two days. So far, the elections board appears to have rejected that course, citing costs.
There are other reasons not to bring back the old machines. For one thing, they do not offer a real way to recount votes. If the machine says a candidate got 10 votes, that’s the final tally. The machines also had a tendency to break down, and there are no good estimates of how much it would cost to get them working again.
Full Article: Clunker Voting Machines in New York – NYTimes.com.