LONG ISLAND CITY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there could be a "potential disaster" if the city uses its new voting machines during this year's mayoral election.
The old lever machines were replaced by optical scanning machines, which use paper ballots that feed into the scanner. The machines were first used in Primary Day elections in 2010 and led to confusion and delays in voting.
"It went from something that worked, that was relatively fraud-proof where you had the privacy of expressing yourself, to something where everybody can look over your shoulder," said Bloomberg during an unrelated press conference in Queens Wednesday.
The mayor complained that the new machines led to more ballots being invalidated and could delay voting results.
"Everybody fills out the ballots differently and lots of ballots are invalidated. It could not happen with the old machines," he said. "And where the counting system is such, you could go days without finding out who really won."
Until we have a system of using computerized voting machines, the city should just bring back the old machines, he added.
"Legally they cannot be used in federal elections, but we don't have a federal election this time," Hizzoner said. "It's simply a city election and there's no legal reason why they couldn't. These machines are sitting in warehouses. It would take only a few weeks to distribute them."
When asked if he would lobby the New York State Assembly on behalf of legislation passed by the State Senate to bring back the old machines, Bloomberg said he would "happy to make a call" if requested.
"We're the laughing stock of the country," Hizzoner said. "Everybody else uses computers."