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NY: "Someone must have gotten a very nice contract out of this." - Chryssos

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-11-10 12:27 AM
Original message
NY: "Someone must have gotten a very nice contract out of this." - Chryssos
Here's one just like I posted a moment ago on this thread.

Again there is not any mention of the lawsuit to keep the levers or to correct the overvote notification.

But the author DID report an EARFUL.

The new voting machine was poorly received by the town board.

"I see Bush v. Gore all over this machine," said Peter Chryssos, deputy supervisor. "Just by virtue of the fact that you have to fill something out, it seems to me it has built-in obsolescence already. Someone must have gotten a very nice contract out of this."

Board member David Gabrielson agreed with Chryssos.

"It sounds like there are going to be very long lines and confusion," he said. "Not because it's a new system, but because what (Fumagalli) described is confusing."

With the new ballot style and different method of filling it out and casting it, many worry the change will daunt voters and keep them away.

"It's taking something that was really very easy, and making it very complicated," Fumagalli said. "The most important thing you can do is to vote. We're trying to be as positive as we can."


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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 10:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why these new machines were ordered really set off alarms when I first trained
to be an election inspector. I thought that I was seeing a huge kickback scheme, but I no longer think that is true. The new machines are not sturdy like the lever machines and won't work if they are stored improperly (temperature, dust, etc., must all be taken into account) or if they are jostled while being unloaded off the trucks. I was outraged at the expense of these the first time I worked an election because every precinct must have one and when they were first employed we were only trained to help special needs folks vote on them, and they do allow for people to vote in braille, sip and puff, or foot pedals. Not one person in our precinct wanted to use it and as I later discovered, only one person in any precinct in our village did use it. (1 in about 12,000) It takes at least 20 minutes to vote and most people with special needs bring their own helpers to pull the levers in the old-style machines rather than take the extra time. The machine prints out the completed ballot and then that ballot is dropped into the sealed box in the interior of the machine. Only after last year's primary did we learn that these machines will be replacing the old, lever-style voting booths. The upside is that the all voters will be filling out a paper ballot, that ballot will be scanned into the machine which will keep a running total, and the paper ballots will dropped inside and remain inside the locked machine so that they can be manually counted and double-checked for accuracy.

BTW, our precinct had over 80% voter turnout in the Presidential election in 2008. Not. One. Person. used this machine.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-12-10 02:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. But Computers CANNOT be trusted to count votes!
Edited on Mon Jul-12-10 02:55 PM by Bill Bored
And this is exactly what NY will be doing.

We would be much better off with the lever voting machines and a small number of accessible paper ballots counted by hand than what we are getting:

- Nearly ALL ballots counted by software that can't be trusted;
- Only a small fraction of the ballots counted by hand.

Sorry you were not aware of this change sooner when there was more time to fight it.

Nassau County has sued in state and federal courts and is making good progress, but the voters of New York are still not represented in any court, except by the Brennan Center whose complaint only concerns unintentional overvoting -- which was not possible with the lever machines. That's not good enough.
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thanks for the link.
I'm glad you're making progress in Nassau. The first time I heard of these machines was when I went for the training and signed up to learn Part B. I missed last November's election because I was on federal jury duty but one of the other election inspectors told me that eventually these inconveniently sensitive Sequoia machines would replace the old lever models. They were already a done deal before I heard the first word about them. Having worked in several elections now, I can say that the poll workers (like myself) reconcile the votes at the end of the voting day and would notice any discrepancies between who voted and how the votes came out. This is the huge benefit of having local people man the voting precincts. I personally decided to take on this job after robberies that took place in the national 2000 and 2004 elections. After meeting the other poll workers and spending several elections with them, I feel a lot better about how the votes get counted. None of us (in our precinct, at least) trust the machines, but I have learned that I can trust my neighbors.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-13-10 09:52 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thanks for being a poll worker!
Edited on Tue Jul-13-10 09:54 PM by Bill Bored
Unfortunately, no one knows how the machines will be counting. They are programmed centrally -- not by our neighbors. You can run your test decks and pay attention to the results, and I hope you will, but that's no guarantee.

If the scanner fails, you or a second shift, will have to count all the votes by hand before you leave. That happened last year during the pilot election in at least one county. As far as I know, that election law is still on the books. If it happens to you, I hope you won't get discouraged because that's really the only way to know your election district had an honest tally! (Of course they could find you another scanner instead.)
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-14-10 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. There are no second shifts for poll workers.
Edited on Wed Jul-14-10 09:20 AM by yellerpup
When you sign on as an elections inspector, you accept the fact in writing that your day will be at least 16 hours long (with a half-hour lunch and two 10 minute breaks) and you agree to stay until the last vote in your precinct is counted (and reconciled). For every Democratic elections inspector in each precinct, there is a Republican elections inspector and we work side-by-side. Individual workers are held responsible and liable for prosecution if it is discovered that the votes have been tampered with. Everyone takes great care to insure correctness. Voters are checked in, address and party affiliation verified in the book and initialed by an elections inspector. A second list is kept that must agree with the sign-in book. The book and the list are then checked against the vote tally from each machine and if there is any discrepancy everyone stays until the error is found. At the end of 16+ hours, believe me, nobody wants that...

All that being said, the system is not foolproof. The voting machines in my county scan paper ballots filled out by the voter and the ballots are then dropped into the locked machine that cannot be reopened without breaking a seal (which is not allowed--police would be called at that point). The ballots are counted electronically as each vote is cast. If a recount is ordered, the machine is opened up at the Board of Elections and the actual paper ballots that were filled out by each individual voter are then recounted (again with an equal amount of Dems to Repugs). Even with the lever machines, we have had to search for a 2 vote error, so no system is perfect. I'm not defending the new machines at all. I don't like them because they are too sensitive to jostling or paper jams. We have to know how to break them down and set them up, but if say, a paper jam does happen, someone from the elections board will have to come to the precinct with a special key to open the machine and fix it. Everyone involved has to witness the repair and initial every step of the process, so if someone is cheating/cheated, they will know who to blame. It's not perfect to be sure. Fraud can happen no matter what type of machine or even when paper ballot is used, but it would take a conspiracy of huge proportions. (See Florida, 2002 and Ohio, 2004 specifically) I know election fraud has happened before in many places all over the USA, which was the reason I decided to get personally involved. I wanted to make sure the vote was counted properly. Once I met my co-workers on election day I knew we were all there to support the same goal and I've had more confidence in the system since that time.

In the 2008 presidential election we had over 80% turnout in our precinct, and almost 80% of those voters went for Obama. It was very exciting to see such a huge victory unfold. If our precinct suddenly started to go Republican without a huge change in demographics we at the polls would know the machines were counting things wrong and demand a hand recount. If the new voting machines were not supported by paper ballots, I'd be more skeptical. You are not wrong to mistrust computerized voting but rest assured that your neighbors who work at the polls are absolutely willing and able to count and recount the vote until it truly reflects the actual results. Stay sharp, Bill Bored, and keep asking questions and demanding fairness. Nice to meet you.

Edited for one more little clarification. I'll shut up now.
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