The New York City Board of Elections is warning that a possible runoff in the mayor's race after the September primary could be a disaster. At the same time, it is promoting a new plan for its old voting machines. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following review.
The city's Board of Elections is required to hold a run-off election on September 24, two weeks after the September 10 mayoral primary, if no candidate captures at least 40 percent of the vote. But it has long said it does not have enough time to count votes and prepare ballots between the elections.
"There is no guarantee that we are going to make this date," Pamela Perkins of the Board of Elections said at a City Council hearing Thursday.
The board is even asking Albany lawmakers to let it to bring back the old lever machines in September. Officials think they will be easier to work with.
"We would love to be able to use the lever machines, because we all know, sitting in this room, that we have done this before with the lever machines," said Dawn Sandow of the Board of Elections.
In the meantime, though, officials are pushing another plan for the old machines. They want to turn them into oversized kiosks. Voters would use them to look up polling places. Poll workers would use them to check in, and ballots would be tallied on them at the end of the day.
City Councilman Dan Halloran said he didn't understand why a tablet couldn't do the same thing. An elections official predicted that tablets would be stolen.
"Something as small as that, they won't all come back," Sandow said. "I don't care what we chain it to."
Halloran said he is also worried about the kiosk breaking.
"To me, in terms of having citizens of the city of New York, who are not particularly, necessarily going to be the most dainty and delicate in touching things, and then you're going to rely on that to transmit data at the end of the night," he said. "Sounds like an invitation for a problem."
The kiosks cost $6,000 each. The board said it needs $15 million to pay for all of them.
The kiosks are not the only thing the board is trying to fund. They are asking the council to almost double their budget next year. The mayor is proposing that the agency get about $73 million next year. The agency said it needs about $63 million more.