Bloomberg Warns City Could Be Mayor-Less Come January

Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo: Getty)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned Friday he fears the city’s Board of Elections could screw up this fall’s election so badly the city will be left without a mayor in 2014.

“We could go to January and not know who the mayor is,” Mr. Bloomberg said during his weekly radio sit-down with WOR’s John Gambling, repeating concerns he raised earlier this week about the potential for disaster.

For months, the Board of Elections has been warning that it doesn’t think it’s capable of re-configuring the city’s new electronic voting machines in time if a run-off election is needed to settle the primaries. As a workaround, some, including the mayor, have suggested bringing back the city’s old lever-style machines, which are currently in storage.

“The only solution for this coming election, I think, is bringing these machines back. And if you don’t, you could find yourself with a runoff–which at the moment is a decent possibility–and not be able to have the election and then not be able to count that,” said the mayor. “They can’t in two weeks turnaround.”

The State Senate has already passed a bill allowing the resurrection of the old machines, but the idea has received little support in the Assembly.

Mr. Bloomberg, of course, has long treated the befuddled board as a punching bag, ridiculing it and the new machines it was legally required to buy for use in federal elections. He didn’t let up Friday.

“This all comes about from picking about the dumbest voting system,” said the mayor, insisting that “old machines worked fine.” Now, he said, “Everybody looks over your shoulder. They can see …. We have taken away one of the fundamental parts of Democracy: the right to express yourself independently without anybody pressuring you,” he said.

He even accused the board of purposely trying to cause confusion–but quickly stepped back his comments: “This Board of Elections is just—it’s so incompetent it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t deliberate or something,” he said. “That’s not fair, but how we got into this situation.”

Still, Mr. Bloomberg insisted that, no matter what happens come January, he’s not staying on for a fourth term.

“I’ll be out of office,” he said. “I’ll be in the city… But I will not be mayor, no matter what happens.”