On Tuesday, Bill de Blasio became the latest frontrunner in New York City’s mayoral election, a race which has seen several major shifts in polling. Whoever emerges victorious in the first round of the Democratic primary next month, almost all of the polling indicates he or she will be headed to a runoff against the second place finisher three weeks later. This might be a problem. The Big Apple’s recent history of elections have included legal battles, chaotic lines at the polls, and vote counts that seem to never end. Adding to those headaches next month are the return of the city’s aging lever-pull voting machines and the possibility of a close finish for that number two spot, opening the door for a nightmare scenario where the results are still in dispute as the date of the final runoff approaches. “I can’t even think about that, the concept is too stressful,” one mayoral campaign staffer, who asked not to be named, said after TPM asked about how the potential Election Day chaos could complicate the tightly scheduled race.
New York City law requires a runoff to be held if no candidate earns at least 40 percent of the vote in the mayoral primaries. Since the Republicans are polling far behind in hypothetical general election match-ups, the Democratic primary on Sept. 10 is the main event in the mayoral campaign. Though polls have been divided on which of the Democrats will be the frontrunner, they have universally indicated that no candidate will reach the 40 percent threshold necessary to avoid a runoff, and that the battle for the final slot in that round two race could be a tight one.
“The second position — that is what everyone’s going to be focused on: Who’s going to be number two? Who’s going to be in the runoff?” Tish James, a Brooklyn councilwoman and candidate for public advocate, explained to TPM on the phone Monday.
However, close races have proven to be extremely difficult in New York’s last few elections. In 2010, in order to comply with federal law, the city switched from lever machines that had been in use since the 1960’s to electronic voting devices. Since then, multiple close local races have ended in court after the New York City Board of Elections engaged in lengthy vote counts marked by dramatically shifting totals and allegations of voter fraud. In November, President Barack Obama received about 80 percent of the votes in New York City, but even that clear landslide proved difficult to tabulate for the BOE, which announced in July that it had lost 1,600 votes cast in the presidential race and needed to amend its totals nearly eight months later.
Full Article: The NYC Mayoral Election Nightmare Scenario | TPMDC.