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Mayor Urges Board Of Elections To Bring Back Lever Machines This Fall

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With the Board of Elections saying it is unprepared to run this fall's mayoral election, Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighed in Wednesday, backing one of the board's proposed solutions to bring back the old voting machines. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Tech-savvy Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a different mind set when it comes to city elections.

"The only solution here it to bring back the old machines," he said Wednesday.

For months, the city Board Of Elections has said it is unprepared to run this year's mayor's race. Officials there argue there is not enough time between the primary and a potential runoff to certify the results, all because of the board's electronic voting machines.

"This will definitely be a 'lessons learned' election," BOE official Dawn Sandow said on Monday.

The board floated a number of proposals to deal with it, including bringing back old lever machines.

In a rare moment of consensus, one of the BOE's most outspoken critics actually agreed.

"If we don't do that, we are running a real risk of not knowing who the mayor is for months," Bloomberg said.

The new machines were brought in to comply with federal law. Because this is a local election, officials argue they can bring back the old machines, just this once.

But the measure still needs approval in Albany. The state Senate has approved a bill to bring back the machines, but that proposal also pushes back a potential runoff for a week.

The Assembly has approved a bill to only move the potential runoff from September 24 to October 1.

"We are not prepared in the Assembly at this point to bring back the lever machines. We think it would be a step backwards," said State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh. "We are prepared to work with the city and the city Board Of Elections to change some of the rules that may allow them to run the runoff more quickly and more smoothly."

This whole conversation could end up being irrelevant. A runoff election only occurs if a candidate does not receive 40 percent of the vote in a citywide primary. But in a crowded field, a runoff becomes far more likely.

"I think we have a potential disaster here," Bloomberg said.

The BOE declined to comment on the mayor's remarks.

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