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Even NY's Blind Governor (like most others) Doesn't Use Accessible Ballot Marker. Votes on Levers.

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:02 PM
Original message
Even NY's Blind Governor (like most others) Doesn't Use Accessible Ballot Marker. Votes on Levers.
I would have thought the few advocates of computerized vote counting would have gotten out their base to make it look like these machines are welcomed, despite being a terrible idea.

Perhaps NYVV should do a GOTLUV (Get Out The Likely Unverified Vote) campaign.


:shrug:

Few votes for new machines at polls

Devices that ease access for those with disabilities saw little use Tuesday

By JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST, Staff writer
First published: Thursday, September 11, 2008

snip

Gov. David Paterson, the state's first legally blind governor, did not use the ballot-marking device. Instead, Paterson entered a traditional lever-action voting booth in Harlem on Tuesday and logged his vote with the help of an aide, as he has done for years, spokesman Errol Cockfield said.

Anecdotal evidence from around the Capital Region suggests that the new machines, meant to allow disabled voters to vote without assistance, also were not widely used.

In Rensselaer County, the unofficial total of ballots cast with the devices was four, elections officials said. Saratoga, Albany and Schenectady counties did not have tallies, but few expected to see much use.

"There was a lot of interest in kicking the tires," said Brian Quail, Schenectady County's Democratic elections commissioner, "but not a lot of interest in taking it for a test drive."

He said the 65 marking devices went unused in "many, if not most," polling places.

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=...



Voting machines for disabled went unused in primary

Not one of the new machines intended to make voting more accessible to those with disabilities was used in Tuesdays primary balloting.

"None,"
replied Catherine A. Dumka, deputy Republican elections commissioner, when asked today if any of the ballot marking devices were used, Non-disabled voters cast tallies on the traditional lever-style machine as usual.

Absentee ballots are also available to disabled voters, and many disabled persons have chosen to use them in the past.

snip

The county ordered 130 of the new machines earlier this year to have at least one in every polling place. There are about 123 voting locations because multiple election districts vote at the same site in some instances.

The machines cost about $11,500 each, with the federal government picking up 95 percent of the cost.

http://romesentinel.com/news?newsid=20080912-141502


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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. I've been voting with levers since my first election (1984)....
...and I've ALWAYS felt comfortable with their performance. It's like a car's odometer - you can fuck with it, but you'll leave scars.

The moment they push touch-screens at me, I'm going to vote via absentee ballots.
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Muttocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I like that analogy - it is a nice mechanical feel. nt
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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It's REALLY mechanical - you push your levers and pull the handle...
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RoccoR5955 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. That machine in the picture is mechanically identical to the ones in use today.
Though the ones in use today have the lever in a different location, and the levers are now plastic, it's essentially the same machine it has been since the 30s. Some of our machines in my town go back to the 40s and 50s. Once in a while, we have problems, but we set up a spare, and we are good to go. There are so many locks and interlocks in these machines, I believe that is highly improbable to get an inaccurate count.

Those who believe that if there's a problem, and they throw technology and money at it and it will go away, are sadly mistaken.
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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. That was the case in my polling place in California in '06
I was working in a large, fairly busy precinct (which played host to a few reporters doing spots on the election- that was interesting) and only one person tried to use it. She was blind, elderly, and it took her, her seeing husband, and one of our poll workers together about half an hour to cast her vote on the thing.

In an area with quite a few elderly disabled people, the rest all opted for paper ballots, and brought a family member to assist them if needed. Of course, a huge percentage of our voters vote absentee, which probably works out better, since they can take their time at home, get help if needed, etc.

In theory the advantage of the ballot marking machines is that visually impaired voters can cast a totally secret ballot, but the reality is that almost nobody manages to use the machine unassisted (even in poll worker training, which is long on young, able people who understand technology) and even many able people need help feeding their ballot into the scanner, in which case the poll worker sees their ballot.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. To be fair, the NY machines use a "ballot sleeve" to help keep the vote secret.
Still, these machines are being forced on EVERYONE because some advocates claim the accessibility features are important to a segment of the population. So where are they? And why does everyone have to use the new machines.

In NY, the discussion has morphed into one of security. Some members of New Yorkers for Verified Voting insist it's less secure to vote on a lever machine, more secure to vote on an optical scan.

Some disagree with their assessment and arguments. Especially their argument claiming HAVA requires the retirement of lever machines. It doesn't. And NYVV knows it. But their leader makes misleading statements about it.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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LeftyMom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. They do here too (it's a legal sized file folder, but whatever)
but they don't really conceal the machines going into the scanner, only hide them as one moves about the polling place.

The machines here (we have ES&S, I'm sure others are different) are set up in such a way that pretty much the whole up-facing side of the ballot is exposed during the scan- I make a point of not looking and I've still seen a lot of people's supposedly secret ballots as a poll worker, because there's really no way to help a person who's having difficulty feed their ballot into the scanner without seeing their ballot.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Thanks for that info.
I'll see what I can learn about the ACTUAL use of the sleeves with the Sequoia ImageCast.

I may have been a victim of the PR effort. :blush: :grr:

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RoccoR5955 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thanks for the info... More ammo to get rid of that garbage.
Those ballot marking machines are junk. Now the law is to get rid of the old machines, that work fine, they're just quite old, and need some TLC, from their custodians. I am a Democratic Party election custodian in my town, and can tell you that even the election inspectors don't like them. It takes 20 minutes to vote on one of these things, and they are not hackproof. Well, I hope that someone puts a stipulation into the law to save the old voting machines, because if they don't, there will be a lot hell to pay, when people's votes don't count... I mean broken machines, being smashed by angry voters.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Actually, there is a stipulation to keep the levers...sort of.

New York State Law, ERMA 2005, was modified to remove the date by which levers would be retired. And of course, HAVA doesn't require the replacement of levers in the first place...but many don't realize this.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. SIGN THE PETITION TO KEEP THE LEVERS HERE:
Edited on Sun Sep-14-08 06:31 PM by Bill Bored
http://www.electiondefensealliance.org/ny_levers_petiti...

And I'm sure NEXT TIME, Wilms will be good enough to point this out. :hi:
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
12. First of all, this is no surprise....
Edited on Sun Sep-14-08 06:29 PM by Bill Bored
...surveys have shown that most disabled voters in NY prefer to vote absentee. Furthermore, you can't compare a primary to a general election so the real test will be in November.

Also, while e-vote counting is a terrible idea, these machines are not counting anything in 2008, so I'm not sure why e-vote counting advocates would want to vote on them. HCPB advocates might, assuming they don't mind using a computer to mark their hand-counted paper ballot. It's only when the ballots are counted by optical scanners that there will be e-vote counting. Hopefully that's not going to happen any time soon in NY.

NYVV (with the help of many others in the state) have done a fantastic job at keeping DREs out, unless you consider the fact that the Sequoia/Dominion ImageCast optical scanner can also work as a DRE, more or less at the flip of a switch. The same may be true of ES&S's latest DS200 offering which, if certified, will be another hybrid machine used in NY.

NY Election Law does not ban DREs -- just DREs without VVPATs. Yet a few of those are still in use in Saratoga County.

The best bet for NY is to keep the lever machines. No one wants to talk about a serious post-election audit, and post-election audits, while useful, do not guarantee election-night counts the way lever machines do. Indeed the post-election audit is only necessary because the election-night count will become so unreliable with optical scanners or DREs that the only way to check it is by doing a risk-based statistical audit or a full hand count. The NY State Board of Elections has not responded to calls to implement such a procedure. Maybe they know something we don't -- such as: the levers ain't goin' anywhere anytime soon. But I would not take their reluctance to talk seriously about auditing elections as a positive sign just yet.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Blah, blah, "fantastic job at keeping DREs out", blah, blah.

I've heard that. Even said it myself.

But then, can you name ANY state that has ordered DREs in the last two years?

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-14-08 11:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Well, there is more than one definition of "fantastic." nt
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-08 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
15. if you ask some disabled advocates...
They will tell you that physical access to the polling places is a major obstacle, i.e decent parking, level access, direct access without need of stairways.

Also, it is just more complicated and laborious for some disabled people to get out.

So getting to the polling place is still an obstacle.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-15-08 10:18 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Ramp and doorways wide enough for wheel chairs too.

In fairness, HAVA provides funds for that sort of thing. But the downside is the reduction in the number of polling places.

How much does that disruption contribute to lower turnout, longer lines, increased (and insecure) early and absentee voting?

And it would be interesting to get an idea how many people use the accessible machines. In my precinct, it may not yet have been used in the 2 or 3 times it's been deployed. :shrug:

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