Senate Passes Bill to Allow Lever Machine Voting in NYC

June 20, 2013

The New York State Senate today gave final passage to legislation (S4088C), sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), that would allow New York City to use mechanical lever voting machines in both the primary and run-off elections.

In addition, the bill would to move the date for a potential run-off election in New York City from September 24th to October 1st  to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

"After calling for the return of the lever machines for months, today I was proud to give voters the ability to use the reliable and efficient lever machines.  With the time constraints that we face due to the run-off election, there was no other logical option at this point than to bring back the lever machines," said Senator Golden.  

“The new voting machines are confusing to people and very hard to read, especially for seniors,” Senator Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), a co-sponsor of the bill, said.  “The old saying is that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’  To ensure an orderly election we should allow the simple, lever-style machines to be used.”

This year, the City of New York faces the prospect of three elections over a two-month period -- the primary, a run-off primary, and the general election. The offices up for election this year include Mayor, City Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough President, and all of the City Council seats. 

“This legislation would actually increase voter access to dependable voting processes,” Senator Andrew Lanza (R-I-C, Staten Island), a co-sponsor of the bill, said.

To accommodate the disabled voters, the legislation requires that if lever voting machines are used, each polling place must have a voting machine designed to allow voting by disabled voters. These voting systems are already owned and used by the Board of Elections.

The bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration.