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Elections Roundup: Lever Machines; Weiner On Health Care; Lhota On Education

by Gotham Gazette Staff, Jun 21, 2013

State lawmakers voted last night to allow the city to use the old lever voting machines for the primary on Sept 10 and any potential run-off. A run-off would be held on Oct. 1. The city Board of Elections has argued that the old machines were necessary because the new electronic voting machines could not be set up quickly enough for the run-off. Good government groups have criticized the proposal.

Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner is calling for the city to be the “laboratory" for a single-payer health care system. In a speech yesterday, he said the plan could help control the rise of city spending on health care.

Under his proposal, city workers and retirees would have to pay 10 percent toward insurance premiums — and 25 percent if they smoke.

Weiner was one of the strongest advocates for a national single-payer health care system when he was in Congress.

Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota said in a major policy speech yesterday that he was willing to “cooperate" with the teachers union if he is elected to City Hall, Crain’s New York Business reports. But he said he was “not going to give them a back rub in the election year like so many other candidates" — an apparent dig at Democratic candidates who were angling for the endorsement of the United Federation of Teachers.

Earlier this week, the UFT endorsed former comptroller Bill Thompson, a Democrat, for mayor.

On education issues, Lhota praised mayoral control over the schools and said that he would not “demonize" teachers. He also called pre-kindergarten education in the city “glorified babysitting."

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