It's mayoral primary election day in New York City, and not surprisingly, things aren't going all that smoothly:

As voters headed to the polls on Tuesday morning, problems with decades-old voting machines were reported in polling stations across the city, according to the Board of Elections.

From Wall Street to Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, voters arrived at polling stations to find that none of the lever machines were working. Even with small crowds, voters described delays as workers struggled with jammed and broken equipment.

I loved these old mechanical voting machines—there was a visceral feel to casting your ballot as you pulled down the main lever and felt all those gears grinding into place. But the deliberate distribution of broken machines into targeted precincts, well that's how you steal an election.

Now, I'm not saying that's what's going on today in NYC. Absent evidence to the contrary, I'll just have to assume that the distribution of broken voting machines is entirely random. The most obvious explanation in situations like this is always incompetence.

But hypothetically, let's say Mayor Bloomberg did want to influence the election of his successor—targeting broken machines into more liberal precincts (like they did in Philadelphia during the Frank Rizzo era) would be exactly the way to do it.

Yet another comparative advantage of Washington and Oregon's vote-by-mail system.