The city’s Board of Elections (BOE) will use old-fashioned lever voting machines instead of modern scan systems in this year’s primaries.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, with hesitations, signed the bill into law on July 8, allowing the date for a possible run-off to be moved to October 1 as well.
“I strongly believe that the use of lever voting machines is a poor solution to the Board’s concerns,” Cuomo wrote in his approval letter.
The governor feared lever machines would pose “significant problems” as they are “often inaccessible” to disabled voters and more prone to losing votes than electronic systems.
But BOE officials said they needed lever machines in order to finalize primary election results and prepare for a run-off in time.
Scanning machines would have been difficult to reset, they said, in the two weeks between the September 10 primary and the original September 24 run-off, which occurs if no candidate takes 40 percent of the vote.
Cuomo said there were “less burdensome solutions” to most of the Board’s issues, including changing its hand count requirements and using high-speed scanners.
“Nevertheless, circumstances require that I sign this bill into law,” he wrote. “Preventing the use of lever voting machines through a veto could profoundly impact the integrity of this year’s elections.”
The city will return to using optical scan voting machines for its November 5 general elections.