New York City will undergo some fundamental changes when it comes to this year's election cycle. Not only did Albany lawmakers authorize the limited use of old-fashioned lever machines, but the NYPD is no longer responsible for sorting and protecting results. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Heeding the concerns of the city Board Of Elections, lawmakers approved legislation allowing the use of lever machines this year to ensure that election workers can quickly tally the results if there is a runoff election following the primary.
But there was another change that may have been overshadowed by the debate over whether to bring back lever machines, and that change is how election results get reported.
"Currently, in a little-known fact, the police commissioner of the city of New York is still the source of election results, which comes from a time when that agency was considered to be a bastion to prevent corruption of those results. But in this day and age, really the Board Of Elections ought to be taking responsibility for that," said Manhattan Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh.
Under legislation that passed both houses, the New York City Police Department, an executive agency of the mayor, has been cut out of the reporting process. Election workers will upload the results directly to their website, making the data available immediately.
"It's been embarrassing when elections are held in New York State and counties in upstate and Long Island were able to report the results far more quickly than New York City," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union. "We think that we would be able to do it a little bit better and faster but we haven't been able to. This will allow New York City to get the election night results out before people go to bed."
Under the old system, results would go to police precincts and then be distributed to the Associated Press. Now, the AP is no longer the gatekeeper.
"The news media and then the general public will have access in real time, as the election results come in from each poll site," said Brian Kavanagh.
There were two more election reform bills that Democrats in the state Assembly were seeking. The first would allow pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. Obviously, they could not actually vote until they were 18, but the idea was to engage them in the process early. The other was a ballot redesign to make it more intuitive.
Both measures passed the assembly but failed in the state Senate.