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Elections officials say disabled voters will have access to electronic devices at each poll site this year so that they can submit paper ballots for the September primary, even though inaccessible lever voting machines are being brought back.

A spokeswoman for the city's Board of Elections said in a statement today that ballot marking devices would allow "all voters, including voters with disabilities, to vote privately and independently at their poll site" on Election Day.

The Gotham Gazette reported yesterday that the BOE could face legal action from advocates for the disabled over its plan to bring back lever voting machines.

James Weisman, senior vice president and senior counsel at the United Spinal Association, told the Gotham Gazette that his organization was considering taking legal steps to stop the BOE from using the machines.

He said disabled voters would face physical challenges to using the lever voting machines.

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Calls to Reform Election Board


After an election day marred by failing voting machines, ballot shortages, packed polling places, confusion over where to vote and officials turning away voters a number of city officials are calling for a major revamp of the City Board of Election. The process would not be simple as the current system is part of state law. Currently the City BOE is run by both political parties. Changing that would likely require action from Albany and possibly a constitutional amendment. “I think the real answer here is: We should reform this system,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Times. “It should not be two parties and county leaders picking their buddies to supervise the basis of our citizenship. We don’t have a system for the 21st century. It’s just a disgrace.” Who should actually control the BOE is subject of much debate.




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Voters across the city were faced multiple hour waits to cast their ballots, broken machines, missing pens, missing ballots and a great deal of misinformation. Some voters waited on line for over three hours. Valerie Vazquez spokeswoman for the NYC BOE issued this statement in response to questions from Gotham Gazette about the BOE's performance:

The Board of Elections of the City of New York faced many challenges this election year, particularly in the wake of last week’s Hurricane Sandy. Due to damage from the storm, we had to combine or move several poll sites throughout all five boroughs. Late yesterday, one day before the election, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order that allowed voters displaced by the hurricane to vote via affidavit ballot. Additionally, this was also the first time that many voters used the new voting machines we introduced two years ago. All presented challenges to this election and we worked diligently to communicate these changes to New York voters and our poll workers, many of those without electricity. We know that some voters experienced long lines here in New York -- much like voters across the United States -- as is common with high voter turnout associated with a presidential election. We would like to thank both the State and City offices for all their help with preparations for Election Day, the poll site workers for their hard work, and the voters for their patience.