William Thompson Jr. made a gracious exit from the race for mayor of New York on Monday, throwing his support to Bill de Blasio, who probably got slightly more than 40 percent of the vote in last Tuesday’s Democratic primary, which he needed to avoid a runoff with Mr. Thompson. We say probably because the New York City Board of Elections hasn’t finished counting the votes. For the last week, Mr. Thompson has been in the awkward position of hanging around to see whether Mr. de Blasio’s unofficial 40.3 percent holds up. Mr. Thompson, who got 26.2 percent of the vote, saw that his odds were very long, and got on with his life. In leaving the race, Mr. Thompson called the board’s failure to deliver official results nearly a week after the vote a “disgrace.” He’s right, though its incompetence is hardly a surprise.
This was the election, after all, where more than 5,000 antique lever-action voting machines had to be dragged out of storage because the board knew it couldn’t get optical-scanning machines ready for a possible runoff. The board, whose members are appointed by county leaders of both parties, is a patronage-riddled agency with one job, which it does very poorly. Last Friday, workers were caught snoozing among the voting machines they were supposed to be rechecking.
The most appealing solution is just to abolish the board, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has urged for years, and to replace it with a nonpartisan body of skilled professionals. But that would require rewriting the State Constitution, which the Legislature would resist.
Full Article: Thompson Bows Out – NYTimes.com.