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NY: New Voting Machines Get Chilly Reception on Upper West Side [View All]

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 02:42 PM
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NY: New Voting Machines Get Chilly Reception on Upper West Side
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New Voting Machines Get Chilly Reception on Upper West Side

Voters had plenty of questions and concerns about the new machines they'll use to cast ballots this fall.

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
June 25, 2010

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On the Upper West Side Thursday night, the machines were given a somewhat prickly reception.

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Voters raised concerns about the security and privacy of the new system, the size of the print on the ballots and whether they would be alerted if they mistakenly over-vote, meaning to select more than one candidate for a particular office by accident. With the old lever machines, it was impossible to over-vote.

The over-vote issue is of particular concern to some public policy advocates. Lawrence Norden, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, said when voters mistakenly mark more than one choice, New Yorks new machines alert the voter that theyve over-voted, but dont explain what the term means.
Voters are then given the option to either submit or discard their ballot. If they submit it, it wont be counted. The submit option is marked with a green check mark, Norden said, so voters will instinctively choose it, even though it means their vote wont be counted.

Floridas voting system had a similar problem during the 2008 election, and thousands of votes for president were thrown out, Norden said.

It means a lot of disenfranchisement, Norden said. A lot of people's intended choices won't be counted.

Jon Stockman, a 22 year-old law student at Hofstra University at Thursdays demonstration, intentionally over-voted on his ballot to see what the new machine would do. He said the machines response was confusing. The language isnt clear, Stockman said. Most people wont know what an over-vote is, and that could be an issue. Stockman said he also had a tough time reading the small print on the ballot.

Valerie Vazquez, communications director for the citys Board of Elections, said voters who have trouble reading small type will be given magnifying devices. Vazquez said voters will be alerted if they over-vote, and given the option to throw out their ballot or cast it anyway.

Thats going to take a lot of education, for voters to understand that, Vazquez said.

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http://dnainfo.com/20100625//new-voting-machines-get-ch...

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