Broken Lever Voting Machine Taken Out of Service

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Photo by: Rachel Levy

A broken lever machine at a Bronx polling place left at least one person unable to vote in the primary early Tuesday morning.

Katherine Alvarez tried to vote at 2280 Aqueduct Ave. in University Heights but no lever was in place to mark her candidate.

“I was not able to vote because the machine is not able to work for anyone,” said Alvarez, who works for Haile Rivera, a Democratic candidate for State Assembly in the 86th District.

“I just want equal rights so that everyone can vote for their own candidate with no problems.”

Levers on the machine are missing for several Democratic contenders, including public advocate candidates Letitia James, Reshma Saujani, Dani Squadron, Sidique Wai and Catherine Guerriero; Council candidates Fernando Cabrera and Israel Martinez; and Assembly candidates Hector R. Ramirez, Haile Rivera, Yudelka Tapia, Melanie R. Johnson and Kenny A. Nunez.

Alvarez alerted the polling place coordinator about the problem and plans on voting at the same site through a paper ballot.

The four other lever machines at the polling place are working, said coordinator Sonia Lawrence. The broken machine is no longer being used and is awaiting repairs, she said.

“No one was prevented from voting,” Lawrence said.

Member assembly candidate Yudelka Tapia learned of the problem from one of her monitors at the site and rushed over from another polling site to inspect the machine herself.

Insisting the broken machine had purposely been rigged, she said, “How can a machine have levers just for two or three candidates?”

Tapia blamed the Board of Elections, which she called “the most dysfunctional department.”