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NY: New Voting Machines Get Chilly Reception on Upper West Side

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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

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


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


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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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 02:47 PM
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1. Satan's machines are in NYC????
Would that we could pull up the drawbridge and throw them in the moat.
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NV Whino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 02:48 PM
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2. Gawd. It never ends.
There simply isn't a "better mouse trap" when it comes to voting machines.
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 03:12 PM
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3. impound the old machines until legal questions are resolved
this is disenfranchisement.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 07:37 PM
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4. Well, just because Gore lost the Presidency in FL 2000 due to OVERVOTES is no reason to PANIC!
Edited on Sat Jun-26-10 07:54 PM by Bill Bored
After all, New York's got paper ballots now.

And our ballot scanners are CERTIFIED. And they take PICTURES of the overvoted ballots too!

And they comply with all kinds of state and federal laws and regulations (just not the ones that say they have to tell voters what happens to their votes if they OVERVOTE)!

And we've got lots of public officials who are so clever that when you try to explain overvoting to them, they think you're talking about stuffing the ballot box! They are SO WELL INFORMED.

And they get to write all kinds of nifty election laws too, like the one that says they only have to do a 3% hand count, no matter how close an election is!

They even get to make up stuff about HAVA, claiming that it says we have to replace the lever voting machines, which PHYSICALLY PREVENT OVERVOTING!

And then there's our State Board of Elections, who pee in their pants every time some federal judge in Albany says they have to comply with His Order to replace the lever machines. They're so scared they don't even tell the US Dept. of Justice that their new machines don't comply with HAVA! If Judge not-so-Sharpe says they comply, then they comply, and that's that.

So, sorry New Yorkers, it's out of their hands! They just work here. The ship has sailed and they got to do what the DoJ and the idiot-judge say they should do, overvoting or no overvoting. Vote switching or no vote switching.

But that's no reason to panic. Everyone knows you can tell exactly how a voter intended to vote on a paper ballot when he or she overvotes. That's how Gore won the Presidency in FL in 2000, right? Oh...wait...that was Bush, because not even the Highest Court In The Land could tell who all those overvotes were for. My bad. :spank:
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-26-10 08:53 PM
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5. well, in 2012 it will be interesting to see what the residual rate for Pres
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-27-10 01:34 PM
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6. It should be compared to 2004 -- not 2008.
Edited on Sun Jun-27-10 01:42 PM by Bill Bored
In 2004, the lever machines were properly maintained.

In 2008, not only was maintenance deferred because of the anticipation of doing away with the levers, but we also know that in at least one county, the residual vote rate was deliberately exaggerated. It was nowhere near as high as reported, and there's proof because the reported result was IMPOSSIBLE. The State Board of Elections did nothing to correct this when it was called to their attention. This may be a felony in New York but it was never prosecuted.

This is the kind of stuff that really undermines public confidence in our elections, perhaps more than the machines themselves. Officials knowingly reported wrong results, and although it didn't affect the outcome of a contest, it made the voting system look worse than it actually was, possibly resulting in many millions of taxpayer dollars being spent unnecessarily to replace it with a system that is far more vulnerable to widespread manipulation.

The other thing that undermines public confidence is that whenever officials were warned about obvious, predictable problems with the new machines, they didn't do anything to prevent them. Everyone knew about the overvoting problem in Florida's 2008 elections. But no one in New York did anything about it. Not the "verified voting" people, the election officials, the Dept. of Justice (and I mean Obama's -- not just the Bushies!), the state Attorney General, or the elected office holders.

The attitude of some officials is: if the voters are that stupid, there's no cure.

Even the Brennan Center is unhappy about this, and they LOVE electronic voting!
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