Race to City Hall 2013

Tired Election Workers Record Zero Votes at 98 Districts

Exhausted poll workers mistakenly recorded zero votes in 98 election districts in the mayoral primaries last week. Board of Elections officials said the results will be corrected this week.

Michael Ryan, the board’s executive director, explained that protocol calls for zeroes to be entered if tally sheets are missing or illegible. There were 657,330 votes cast in Tuesday’s election, each recorded on mechanical lever machines dating back to the 1960s.

“It’s a long day. People make mistakes,” Ryan said. “People take a reading from the machine, then write it down on a piece of paper called a canvas sheet. There can often be transcription errors.”

As an example of a frequent error, he said a 495 might be entered as 945. “That would be a flip of 500 votes,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities are questioning why a poll district has been set up in Midtown Manhattan even though only one voter was registered to vote there — and the voter did not show up because he moved out of the neighborhood. Two workers, each paid $200 for the day, manned the booth on West 58th Street, passing the time doing crosswords and comparing photos of their grandchildren.

“It’s frustrating, it’s ludicrous, to be here for hours,” one of the booth’s poll workers told DNAinfo.com. “I’ve worked elections where it’s been quiet, but never a situation like this.”

The Board of Elections attributed the mix-up to outdated voting rolls.

GOP Urging Hynes to Run For Reelection on Their Line

Having lost reelection as Brooklyn district attorney to Kenneth Thompson in the Democratic primary last week, Charles Hynes said through a spokesman that although he could run on Republican and Conservative party lines he was on, he is planning on retiring after 24 years in office.

However, Republican and Conservative party leaders are now urging Hynes, 78, to run in the general election on their lines. His name will appear on the ballot anyhow, and leaders such as mayoral nominee Joe Lhota and state Sen. Marty Golden want Hynes to campaign actively for the seat.

“Crime is down. Murders are way down. Hynes has gotten the scum of the earth off the street,” Golden said. “People woke up and were shocked Hynes lost the primary. People woke up and said, ‘This is not the change we wanted.’ Many Democrats felt bad they didn’t come out and vote for him. But they will in the general election.”

The Democratic primary that Hynes lost 56 to 44 percent was sparsely attended, Golden said, and if Hynes gives the green light he could get secure financial support for him.

“Many people will vote for Hynes on the Republican and Conservative lines,” State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long said. “It’s not impossible that he could pull out a victory.”

Hynes had originally promised Thompson a smooth transition. But he was reportedly incensed at a media report that disgraced ex-Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman — whom Hynes convicted for pay-to-play corruption in 2007 — helped Thompson and showed up to celebrate at the winner’s victory party.

In other news, many Hynes staffers, including 20 assistant district attorneys, are planning a mass exit ahead of Thompson’s entrance into the office. They are reportedly angered by Thompson’s hiring of Ama Dwimoh, a controversial former prosecutor who was fired by Hynes three years ago for allegedly threatening interns.

“The thought of him bringing Ama Dwimoh in to run things is just too much,” said a current Brooklyn assistant district attorney.

Thompson has said he plans on “cleaning house” on Jan. 1, with a purge of Hynes’s executive staff.

It’s Change in Brooklyn: Nine New Councilmen Elected

Brooklyn will have nine new sets of eyes looking out for it in the City Council come January, with a wave of political newbies rolling in.

Highlights include Antonio Reynoso, 30, who defeated former Assemblyman Vito Lopez in Bushwick; Carlos Menchaca, 32, of Red Hook, who upset incumbent Sara Gonzales, and Chaim Deutsch, 44, the founder of Shomrim’s Flatbush branch who defeated his two Russian opponents in Brighton Beach. Deutsch still faces what is expected to be a spirited competition from Republican David Storobin, a former state senator.

Another new councilmember is Laurie Cumbo, 38, who defeated four other candidates to replace Letitia James, who ran for public pdvocate.

Why Didn’t Lhota Attend WTC Event on 9/11?

Republican mayoral nominee Joe Lhota played a key role during the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as Rudy Giuliani’s deputy mayor. Yet, he was absent during Thursday’s 12th commemoration of the attacks at Ground Zero, while Giuliani and his Democratic opponent Bill de Blasio were there.

Lhota said that aside for a post-Hurricane Sandy visit last year as the city’s transit chief, he hasn’t returned to the site of the World Trade Center since 2001.

“I can’t go back,” Lhota said, recalling how he was nearly killed “two or three” times that day, including escaping a car that was pummeled by debris. “It’s a solemn day for me. I remember it, the people who died there, the people who were murdered there. I think about it frequently. But life goes on.”

“I just don’t go back,” he added.

But Lhota said that he was “not traumatized,” and would visit for official functions if  elected mayor.