We want to thank the more than 650 Upper West Siders that signed our petition to help address the unacceptably long lines, jammed ballot scanners, and chaotic poll sites many of us experienced on Election Day. Voting reform in New York City has quickly become one of our core issues, and we are working to improve the process of voting in our community.

One of the most common refrains we keep hearing from West Siders is the desire to return to the tried and true lever machines. Bizarrely, it looks like we might get our way, at least temporarily. It turns out it takes longer to count the votes from the new electronic machines than it does with the lever machines. This year, with a tight Mayor’s race we are likely going to have a run-off election three weeks after the September 10th primary election.

Three weeks isn’t enough time to count the vote and prepare the electronic machines for the run-off. So the state legislature passed a law allowing New York City to temporarily use the lever machines. It could be we return to the new scanning machines as early as the General Election this November.

The CFD District Leaders also testified at Councilmember Gale Brewer’s Committee on Governmental Operations. She held a hearing in the wake of the election to brainstorm ways to improve Election Day administration. Both Joan Paylo and Marc Landis presented testimony.

Overall, we’ve been pursuing two types of reform. The petition is advocating for improvements to our state’s voting laws, including the adoption of early voting, same-day registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and non-partisan election administration. Many other states have implemented these and other reforms already with success. Washington and Oregon have gone as far as to conduct their entire elections by mail.

At the same time we’ve been working to improve the specifics of poll site operation on the Upper West Side. We held a forum with 70 hard working, local poll workers and developed a 29 point plan to improve poll site operation. We produced a report synthesizing our findings.