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NY: "Since I don’t understand how the machine can record the votes...I did not feel confident" [View All]

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-18-10 10:01 PM
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NY: "Since I don’t understand how the machine can record the votes...I did not feel confident"
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A Voter Critiques the New Machines
By LYNN BRENNER


Lynn Brenner, a friend of City Room, sent around an e-mail describing her voting experience in New York City on Tuesday and contrasting it with her experiences of past years. This follows a primary day that prompted many complaints. We thought it smartly summed up the experiences of many, and we happily present it here:

The inherent flaws and initial spotty performance of the new New York City voting system have already been denounced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who spoke for just about everyone who voted yesterday.

Here is my firsthand report.

First, a brief description of the old system:

-snip-

When you pulled the lever, there was a clicking sound, and an X appeared in the box next to the candidate’s name. If you had mistakenly pulled the wrong lever, or had second thoughts, you pulled it back. The X disappeared, and you could begin again.

When you were satisfied with your selection — (I use the word “satisfied” loosely, of course) — you cast your vote by pulling the giant handle again. With a big ka-ching! sound not unlike the theme of “Law & Order,” your vote was cast: The X’s disappeared (ensuring its secrecy) and the curtain behind you opened.

-snip-

So here’s the new system:

-snip-

You fill in the little circles (like the SAT test, only less legible). You then put your ballot inside the “privacy folder” and walk to one of the scanners — which look something like a Xerox machine, but not as comfortingly familiar — where a friendly poll watcher helps you cast your vote. The immediate question is, “Do I put in my ballot face up or face down?” In my case, the poll watcher said, “It doesn’t matter.” So I put it in face down, to conceal my vote. It went into the machine, which then flashed the message, “Your vote has been counted.”

Since I don’t understand how the machine can record the votes regardless of whether the ballot is inserted facing up or down, I did not feel confident this was true.

-snip-

Read more, and some interesting comments at:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/a-voter-cr...
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