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City, State Officials Call For Changes To New York’s Voting System One Week After Election Day

City, state officials call for reforms to voting system Nov. 13, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

City, state officials call for reforms to voting system Nov. 13, 2012 (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – City and state officials have called for serious reforms to the voting system before the next election.

Speaking on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, local officials said the long waits and huge crowds this year were due in part to displaced voters from superstorm Sandy casting ballots in other districts.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

But they said the main issue is outdated technology.

“That is a relic of the old machines which only counted up to 999 so we had to divide the city into these tiny little districts,” New York State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh told reporters including WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.

On Election Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg complained about the new voting system, arguing there was no reason to upgrade a system that had been working efficiently for years.

The mayor went so far as to call the new system a ‘nightmare’ that only served to confuse people. The mayor was not part of the Tuesday news conference outside City Hall.

Some of the voting changes proposed by city council members include:

  • Fixing the voter registration system;
  • Requiring better notice to voters of polling places and dates;
  • Eliminating voter cards which were needed for the former lever voting system;
  • Recruiting enough poll workers for each polling station and ensuring proper training;
  • Increasing the use of technology at poll sites to expedite process;
  • Improving ballot design and readability;
  • Combining electoral districts into fewer, larger ones.

Officials said this year’s voting lines were the longest the city has ever seen.

“Imagine if we we’re a swing state,” State Senator Liz Krueger said.

Krueger is one of several city and state officials working on changes like getting rid of unnecessary voter cards and better training.

“I had one set of poll workers at one site who sent an email out declaring they were mutinying. All of this says to the public, ‘it’s a challenge to vote, don’t try it,'” she said.

City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said they will have a hearing to discuss reform ideas on Dec. 5.

Some of the other city council members at the news conference were Jumaane Williams, Daniel Dromm and Dan Halloran.

What do you think of the new voting system? Do you like it or did you prefer the old system? Sound off in the comments section below…