We have yet another potential mess concerning elections in New York City on the new optical-scan computer tabulation systems which recently replaced the mechanical lever machines used by the city for decades. This time, the problem relates to the upcoming citywide elections in September which, if no candidate wins more than 40% in any of the primary races, a runoff will be required by state law, just two weeks later. This is now a huge problem for the city, since there is concern that it could be all but impossible to re-prepare and fully re-test the computer optical-scan systems in the short time after the primary and before the runoff elections. It has led some, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as the NYC Board of Elections, seemingly regretting the move away from lever machines, and considering bringing them out of mothballs for this year’s runoffs.
“The computers just can’t be programmed and readied in time for a runoff,” ABC7’s Dave Evans notes in his video report on Monday (posted below). “The old machines can be.”
Further adding to the problems, says State Board of Elections Commissioner Doug Kellner “If there is a very close primary election, it may not be possible to determine the candidates in the runoff election in the time frame available.”