5:26 pm Jul. 10, 2012
In the aftermath of the problem-ridden vote tally following state Sen. Adriano Espaillat's bid to unseat Rep. Charlie Rangel, Mayor Michael Bloomberg today described the city Board of Elections as "incompetent" and "worse than the gang that couldn't shoot straight."
In 2010, New York City debuted new computerized voting machines to replace its mechanical ones, and problems immediately arose.
The problems are still very much there.
Though other New York jurisdictions use the machines' memory sticks to tally votes, in New York City, the Board of Elections logs them from the machine manually.
Today, the mayor criticized the selection of the machines, which he described as a "terrible, terrible choice," and the board itself.
"Number one we had old voting machines that [in] my recollection worked," he said. "And sometimes they said it was hard to get parts. But you could have gone and bought a little parts company to make those parts a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing all the machines we did. You also have a voting machine now where people can look over your shoulder all the time and see how you're voting. Before, you had the privacy of the voting booth, which I think is essential to Americans being able to exercise their free rights to vote ... without having somebody pressure them. That didn't work."
"You had a place where it was pretty hard to have any corruption, because everybody could see the numbers on the back, you could walk down and count them. I could walk down and count them," he continued. "Now, you got pieces of paper being Xeroxed and handed around and cut and pasted and you saw how many places nobody voted! I mean, this is just a terrible, terrible selection. It was a terrible selection, the kind of machine."
"The argument by one group was that computers can be hacked," Bloomberg added. "Well, yes they can be hacked. But what's more likely, hacked, or these pieces of paper can be dropped on the floor or put in your pocket. Let's get serious. We're in a day and age where computers run that train, that automobile, that airplane, your camera, your phone, your elevator, your heating system. Computers do everything. And we're worried about computers being hacked? Yes, there's always a danger and you have to prevent it, but it's a lot more secure than anything else."
"And then, of course, the Board of Elections is just an incompetent group," he said. "They can't pick an executive director. They've gone on for a long time ... It's worse than the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Because this is what America's all about. The right to express yourself and know that you're vote's gonna be counted. And you don't at the moment have that confidence. And I hate to see what's gonna happen in the fall."
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