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New York City Wants To Revive Old Voting Machines

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the technology-is-hard dept.

Government 211

McGruber writes "The NY Times reports, 'New York City has spent $95 million over the past few years to bring its election process into the 21st century, replacing its hulking lever voting machines with electronic scanners. But now, less than three years after the new machines were deployed, election officials say the counting process with the machines is too cumbersome to use them for the mayoral primary this year, and then for the runoff that seems increasingly likely to follow as soon as two weeks later. In a last-ditch effort to avoid an electoral embarrassment, New York City is poised to go back in time: it is seeking to redeploy lever machines, a technology first developed in the 1890s, for use this September at polling places across the five boroughs. The city's fleet of lever machines was acquired in the 1960s and has been preserved in two warehouses in Brooklyn, shielded from dust by plastic covers."

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211 comments

Lever machines just work (5, Insightful)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#43876407)

And do not need to be replaced.

OK we're all done here.

and some can see leaning up and work on who you ar (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43876429)

and some can see leaning up and work on who you are voteing for.

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year ago | (#43876463)

why can't you put a lever machine in a booth?

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43876511)

maybe it's just a old story. I think it was back in the old Chicago days

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43876611)

I think it was back in the old Chicago days

Given the recent IRS shenanigans, I think we have the new Chicago days now.

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (0)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#43876967)

Where did our current President cut his teeth in politics again?

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#43877363)

maybe it's just a old story. I think it was back in the old Chicago days

In Chicago, they likely still have the same VOTES left in the machines too.....

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (2)

number6x (626555) | about a year ago | (#43877529)

Dan Rostenkowski used to tell a story about an old lady he once met who was from Hammond, Indiana. He recounted how the lady said that her will stipulated that she be buried in Cook County, Illinois when she died.

Rostenkowski asked why she wanted to be buried in Illinois when she was from Indiana?

She replied that she was a life long Democrat, from the days of FDR and she wanted to continue to support the party with her votes after she died.

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876573)

A lever machine is its own voting booth.

http://uploads.static.vosizneias.com/2013/03/lever_voting_machine.jpg

Notice the curtains.

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877643)

The curtain automatically closes when you turn the first lever.

Re:and some can see leaning up and work on who you (2)

GodInHell (258915) | about a year ago | (#43876691)

The ones in new york are enclosed by a built in booth with curtains that close when you lift the lever to start voting and open when you pull the lever to vote. If you're REALLY concerned that you're being watched just adjust the curtain.

Re:Lever machines just work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876641)

When I was in grade school, they were still using the lever machines. One time the janitor explained how he inspected them because the results could fixed if someone shoved a paper-clip into the mechanism. True? Who knows, but its plausible.

Re:Lever machines just work (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43876889)

Yes, but selling voting machines creates jobs. Why do you hate free enterprise?

Re:Lever machines just work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877091)

Amen. Is there anything that touch-screens don't fuck all to hell?

That's not the point (5, Interesting)

Pollux (102520) | about a year ago | (#43877279)

No one said the machines didn't work. The point is that going back to old voting machines is an epic failure of the political system in the 21st century.

Electronic voting is very simple, as long as it follows one cardnal rule: include the paper trail.

1) Create a PoV (point-of-vote) touchscreen machine w/ touchscreen that's networkable. When the user is done voting, the machine sends an electronic tally to a state / national database to keep count.
2) PoV machine also prints out a receipt for every voter after voting is complete, with detailed results that the voter can read and visually verify. Receipt includes a machine-readible 2D barcode.
3) Receipt gets fed into an on-site audit machine that's not networked. It reads in all the paper receits, scans the barcodes, and keeps a separate count on-site. It's count is audited against the count in the state / national database as the first layer of verifying vote integrity.
4) A random sampling of polling places perform paper counts of the receipts, which are then matched with both the machine-audit count and state/national database count as a second layer of verifying vote integrity.

Bam, there you have it. Electronic voting with instantaneous results providing continual updates regarding vote counts which still require two levels of auditing including a paper-trail to preserve vote integrity. And all this could have been done with technology that's been around for 15 years.

But capitalism has messed it up. Diebold gets contracts, palms get greased, and citizens get screwed.

Re:That's not the point (2)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#43877607)

Meh, we just used off the shelf scantron ballots here, fast to tally and easily verified by both the voter and auditors plus everyone who's been through the US education system in the last 40+ years is very familiar with them.

Re: That's not the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877615)

A lever voting machine meets nearly every criteria. They can even include punched tape logs.

So really all we ever NEEDED was to retrofit an Ardunio to make the mechanical devices record electronically.

Re:Lever machines just work (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about a year ago | (#43877493)

And do not need to be replaced.

OK we're all done here.

Stop the luddite love. Of course voting machines can be made more efficient and more secure with modern technology. It's just that the people implementing them are criminals and the politicians buying them are corrupt. Take away the profit angle, add accountability with real consequences, with a oversight board with integrity, and we could have that great new system. As long as it is a money grab, we will continue to get crap.

how's that rust working out for you? (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43877521)

last time NYC wore out a bunch of tic-tic-tic-ka-WHANG! lever machines, they bought all of Fargo's. in the 80s. I suspect a plain ol' warehouse in Brooklyn has allowed those things to get a tad rusty inside by now. they'll end up voting on scraps of paper bags and dipping fingers in purple ink on the way out.

Feel the burn (1)

Rlindstr (2866673) | about a year ago | (#43876419)

The lever machines will increase the caloric burn of the voters. Another attempt to get the populace into better shape.

Re:Feel the burn (1)

IonOtter (629215) | about a year ago | (#43876439)

Gotta burn off all those giant sodas somehow...

Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43876431)

At least these have a paper trail though --- anything's an improvement over ephemeral electrons for counting enumerating election results.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | about a year ago | (#43876469)

This is all we use in Canada for every election at every level. It works fine. You have 100% paper trail, electronic tallying speed, no "hanging chaff" nonsense. It's a tried and true technology that has been around for decades and decades and decades. I don't know why the US goofs around with these other systems, other then PORK PORK PORK PORK PORK

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43876657)

You pretty much nailed it.

Oftentimes the government wants to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading, in spite of the older tech working just fine.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876793)

I suspect it has more to do with government accounting.

"Sector B didn't spend all their budget."

"Cut their budget for next year."

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#43877009)

You pretty much nailed it.

Oftentimes the government wants to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading, in spite of the older tech working just fine.

The older tech NOT working fine was a huge scandal during the 2000 election. "Hanging chad" is still a household term.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877149)

The punch ballots that were a problem in 2000 were working fine for years; it was only that particular election where they suddenly become "flawed".

Some independent investigators tried to reproduce the "hanging chad" or "dimpled" ballots and could not no matter how hard they tried. The paper on those ballots is not very tough and the punch tool given is readily capable of punching a hole into the paper with very minimal effort.

One investigator finally reproduced the problems. You know what it took to reproduce the problem? Trying to punch through a stack of multiple ballots. The ballots near the bottom were not punched all the way through and often had either dimples or hanging chads.

Florida in 2000 was an orchestrated effort by Democrats to rig the election for Gore.

So the solution was to, rather than investigate the fraud, replace all of these machines *nationwide* with closed-source and unverifiable Diebold voting machines where the Diebold CEO was on record in saying that his company would help deliver the election to Republicans. Hilarious.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877297)

I was with you for the first three paragraphs. Maybe you should keep your conspiracy theory out of things, though.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43877603)

One investigator finally reproduced the problems. You know what it took to reproduce the problem? Trying to punch through a stack of multiple ballots. The ballots near the bottom were not punched all the way through and often had either dimples or hanging chads.

What happened was that the "butterfly ballot" was supposed to have been placed on a template, and then the voter was supposed to use the stylus to punch the ballot. The chad would then fall off into a groove in the template (the ballot holes were in the center of the sheet of paper). The problem was that the groove got clogged up from the large number of chads (remember, people don't just vote for POTUS, but for two dozen or so state and local positions as well). Once the groove was clogged, it blocked the chads from coming out of the ballot.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877479)

New York's lever voting machines don't involve anything even remotely resembling a chad.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43877573)

Hanging chad was not a problem. The population essentially is ignorant of statistics. The Florida election was a tie, plain and simple.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (2)

CharlieG (34950) | about a year ago | (#43876791)

But that is what the new nyc machines are. Paper ballot, pen, paper, and a scanner, but the voters and poll workers still have not figured it out. They make you wait on line to find out which line to wait in to get your ballot, then wait on line to get the ballot(and sign for it) the you have to fill it in where they can see you, but not your ballot, then you bring it to the scanning area, and the whole process takes more Room than the lever machines and walking from point a to b. last election, we had lines around the block to get into get your ballot, and with the levers, I never had more than 5 people in front of me

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876819)

Oregon uses this method also. Not every state in the United States is beyond repair; just most of them.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876865)

Actually that is how the "electronic" voting in NYC works right now. You fill out a paper ballot, and it gets scanned. They want to get rid of that, and go back to the old lever machines.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876903)

It is up to each county/state/city what they do. As usually each voting district owns the machines as it is coming out of their budget they get to pick many times.

I have seen 2 different hollerith cards systems, 3 different styles of bubble sheets, 4 different electronic touch screens (all with paper tape trails),

There is pork (lots of it). There is also a level of being sold wizzy toys too. "this will make your job counting these things much faster". Leaving out the fact you still have to wait for everyone to vote...

Also each district basically has its own vote. And what ends up on them is unique and can not be reused much.

Even a hollerith card system can rip thru a stack of cards in a few mins. Counting is actually the fast part. It is waiting for everyone to vote that is the slow part.

It is when it is close that they start manually looking at everything anyway and either way that will be slow, bubble sheets or not. And not because of the counting process which is actually usually just a postman sort. It is all the legal wrangling that goes along with it. Then someone usually figures out a way to make it go slower. For example bubble sheets they only filled out half the circle does it count? They filled out 2 which one counts? They didnt fill out any but accidentally nicked a bubble with the pen does it count?

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#43876911)

And with a little bit of encryption you can make it tamper proof: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izddjAp_N4I [youtube.com]

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877503)

I have worked on the newer voting machines they use in NY, and they are just a bubble sheet scanner ( a very nice one that tabulates ). You can use a pen, and pencil or darn near anything else to make the mark. The precinct scanners are smaller than mini-desktop computer have a small touch screen interface, but they do nothing but scan and tabulate scan sheets ( specially printed to avoid tampering and other election fraud ). They have multi-language support and immediately report undervoting and overvoting.

Probably the biggest complaint is that it is much more difficult to tamper with the results. The city of New York is currently under DOJ oversight for their past election day sins. ... and yes the data is encrypted, which is an FEC requirement.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876979)

Having worked in BC's most recent provincial election, this "Electronic scanning tool" you speak of was actually a Mark 1.0 Human Eyeball.

Not saying the system didn't work (And is clear about who people were voting for), but it wasn't quite as fast as described.

simpler elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877353)

This is all we use in Canada for every election at every level. It works fine. You have 100% paper trail, electronic tallying speed, no "hanging chaff" nonsense. It's a tried and true technology that has been around for decades and decades and decades. I don't know why the US goofs around with these other systems, other then PORK PORK PORK PORK PORK

It's because Canada (and most other countries) don't have a Voting Day.

In the US (AFAICT), they tend to have all of their election on one day in November: municipal, state, federal. In Canada, we have a provincial election OR a municipal election OR a federal election in any one year--never one day. There's actually concern when there's (say) one election in the spring and another in the fall: people get concerned that the public will get "election fatique".

There's also the fact that in the US people vote for judges, sherifs, criminal prosectures, etc. In Canada, we elect our riding representative, school board representative, and mayor (for municipal elections). There may be a referendum on a particular topic, which are like US propositions, but those are rare--unlike the US, where there can be multiple props.

So the "worst case" in Canada is four ballots in the case of a municipal election:
* city councillor
* city mayor
* school board rep
* city referendum on some (single) topic

In provincial and federal elections, you vote for you riding rep and maybe a (single) referendum topic (which usually only happens every 10 years or so).

I think it's a case of too much democracy in the US.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43877537)

US goofs around with electronic voting because of the panic after Bush v Gore election. Seriously, a large segment of the population panicked! Money was granted by government to improve voting, then election officials went overboard buying new machines without actually knowing anything about the technology, and businesses quickly went to work creating the snake oil to feed the demand. What do you expect from a population that uses lots of technology while remaining ignorant of how technology works?

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43877569)

This is all we use in Canada for every election at every level. It works fine. You have 100% paper trail, electronic tallying speed, no "hanging chaff" nonsense. It's a tried and true technology that has been around for decades and decades and decades.

Handwritten voting can work, but what do they do when the voter is physically unable to hold a pencil? Or, for that matter, if they're illiterate?

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#43876515)

Simpler still : #2 pencils and a room full of Mk1 eyeballs.

Re:Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

sconeu (64226) | about a year ago | (#43876917)

I'm blind and handless, you insensitive clod!!!

Re: Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (1)

Michael Rattner (2937605) | about a year ago | (#43876551)

We use a similar tech in San Francisco. Except instead of filling in circles, we draw lines with a special pen. I have no idea why it's so hard for everyone else to make a system this simple.

Re: Even simpler, #2 pencils and a scanning tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876697)

And instead of fixing the results inside the voting booth, they just throw the precinct boxes off the Golden Gate bridge. Keep it simple, stupids!

Drawing lines (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#43877553)

I saw a comparison somewhere in a document about proper ballot creation. It turned out that bubble sheets, which any student is likely intimately familiar with, is the most accurate, over even 'complete the arrow for the candidate you want to vote for'.

Plus, well, equipment is more available.

That document was fascinating - It's not that creating a good ballot is actually all that complex, but I'd still probably end up spending a few days doing it because there's a lot of little 'gotchas' out there.

electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and co (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43876443)

electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and cover it up.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876501)

So do the leaver driven mechanical voting machines this story is talking about since in both cases they are essentially black boxes.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (1)

lart2150 (724284) | about a year ago | (#43876517)

right because there's never forensic evidence unlike ballet box stuffing.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (2)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year ago | (#43876725)

ballet box stuffing.

I hope they don't do this regularly. If I pay for a box seat at the ballet, I sure don't want to be sitting on somebody's lap!

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (2)

CAIMLAS (41445) | about a year ago | (#43876877)

Depending on who it is, I typically don't mind having them sit in my lap, though.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876987)

You know all those ballerinos stuff their boxes--it's obvious.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877215)

If they don't, I'll help them start!

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876543)

What's to say the old machine weren't easy?

They don't call them vote riggers for nothing.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876853)

Easy is a relative term. Changing a few bits on a computer is easier than creating fake ballots, using the votes of the dead, and other tricks.

We could make it bloody impossible to rig an election using computers and paper, and our no-how from printing the world's most popular currency, but we don't. Instead we go from a relatively difficult process to rig (at least on a grand scale) to an incredibly easy one and call it a day.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876815)

You think that because you don't know many ways to cheat using normal voting.

After their last election, Pakistanis were calling for a move to electronic voting because the paper voting was so horribly rigged.

Re:electronic voteing makes it easier to cheat and (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877145)

Only if done wrong.

a technology first developed in the 1890s (3, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#43876473)

You know, I redeploy fire regularly. It's a technology first developed in pre-history.

Re:a technology first developed in the 1890s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877421)

Are people still using that archaic fire technology? I thought we had graduated to solar, nuclear, induction, and microwave heating...

Re:a technology first developed in the 1890s (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about a year ago | (#43877725)

Where can I buy one of these fancy nuclear furnaces and stove tops?

Project Managment (1)

avandesande (143899) | about a year ago | (#43876481)

Before spending 95 million they should have leased 4 or 5 of the new machines and simulated a election sequence.

Re:Project Managment (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#43876623)

What? Why try stuff? That takes time! Think of the precious time you save by not trying out a cheap sample before commiting to a multi-million dollar contract! And it's electronic, it must be awesome! Besides, if something is wrong with it, it's the taxpayers' problem, not yours.

Also, just for you, and only for the next two hours, I'll give you, not one, not two, not three, but a five percent discount on the 100 million something this nice usually costs. I'll even throw in a generous campaign contribution if you pay cash!

Re:Project Managment (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43876679)

Err, wait - why simulate something you've already done before, ad-nauseum? It's not like they're trying out some new and unproven technology here, or even a different set of use cases...

Re:Project Managment (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about a year ago | (#43877135)

To see if the machines work properly, if they're fast enough/private enough, if they don't break down every 10 minutes, if their output is good, if there are any problems that only become evident once you place a bunch of volunteers in front them,...

It seems that something did pop up, so the suggestion is warranted.

a sudden breakout of common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876497)

a sudden break out of common sense... in NYC

How Much You Wanna Bet... (4, Interesting)

IonOtter (629215) | about a year ago | (#43876507)

How much you wanna bet, there was some union worker who's been in the job for 20 years, and saw this coming? They saw it coming and said, "Rather than send them to the scrap yard, we're just gonna squirrel these babies away in this warehouse here," and rolled all those giant hunks of metal into storage in counties all over NY. I bet they got wrapped up, too.

Gonna be a lot of nostalgic voters this election.

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876643)

Couldn't help but dig out the old anti-union trope, eh?

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#43876777)

Where's the anti-union? I'm seeing "Experienced union guy utilizes foresight and keeps the old equipment in storage, ready to counter the impending disaster caused Management's latest bright idea". Seems rather pro-union from where I'm sitting.

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876977)

Exactly how I read it. Especially the comment about wrapping them up so that they were protected.

In fact, I've had my butt saved by just that type of person (be they maintenance staff, skilled workers, etc). Funny how a guy with experience, the right tools, and a pile of old junk can come in handy when you have an emergency.

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877313)

"Funny how a guy with experience, the right tools, and a pile of old junk can come in handy when you have an emergency"

Yes, but he was talking about a union worker.

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (1)

ryanmc1 (682957) | about a year ago | (#43877701)

Are you kidding me? Where in the article does it say anything about a Union worker saving the machines? If unions were in charge of the machines I think they would have been destroyed based on the quote below (which is actually from the article).

“It’s absurd that in a 21st-century New York, we would go back and vote on machines first used in the 19th century when Tammany Hall controlled the elections,” said Dick Dadey, the executive director of Citizens Union. “The voter confusion that’s going to be caused is unfathomable.”

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877143)

You, sir, are a grade A dipshit.

Re:How Much You Wanna Bet... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43877631)

Now what if they forgot how to configure the voting machines? We could end up with La Guardia as mayor again!

Please log in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876533)

"In order to access our Web site, your Web browser must accept cookies from NYTimes.com"

NYT can suck my 8 inch non-dairy creamer. Anybody have a copy of the article?

Re:Please log in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876609)

You're not willing to do that in exchange for reading the story? Is everything in your life free?

Re:Please log in (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a year ago | (#43876663)

"In order to access our Web site, your Web browser must accept cookies from NYTimes.com"

NYT can suck my 8 inch non-dairy creamer. Anybody have a copy of the article?

I'll summarize it for you:

We're the New York Times and we're trying to remain relevant by sucking our own dicks non-stop! Just like New York City itself!

Re:Please log in (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#43877687)

We're the New York Times and we're trying to remain relevant by sucking our own dicks non-stop! Just like New York City itself!

Just remember that you are limited to sucking only 16 oz at any one time.

A better explanation of problems (2)

Spillman (711713) | about a year ago | (#43876601)

This [nytimes.com] article explains the problems better.

In still others, workers seemed flummoxed by procedures that accompanied the new equipment, especially for accepting ballots when the scanners did not function. At times the frustration boiled over, and there were shouting matches between voters and poll workers.

At least some of the problems are caused by incompetent election officials. Perhaps that could work on reading comprehension?

Re:A better explanation of problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876893)

Q; how do we accept ballots when the scanners do not function?
A: don't worry about that, they will always function, so it's not worth you having a fall-back plan.

Re:A better explanation of problems (1)

Minwee (522556) | about a year ago | (#43877695)

At times the frustration boiled over, and there were shouting matches between voters and poll workers.

This is New York City. I think someone misspelled "shooting".

Always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876639)

Why does all the voting have to be done within one day? If they extended voting to last a week then there wouldn't be issues with long lines.

Re:Always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876771)

Media, particularly TV, wants to be the first to report on it.

Re:Always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876955)

I can honestly say I haven't seen a long line here. I go during the day. The reason the lines form is because instead of making a voting day a national holiday or mandating that employers allow employees to vote at any time, most time off laws either don't exist or basically make it so that if you can vote before or after work, you have to vote before or after work.

Just make the day a holiday. If it's always a Tuesday people won't be able to plan their "long weekend" around it, and if they do, then who cares what they would have voted?

Re:Always wondered (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43877021)

that's what the constitution says for federal elections. the first or second Tuesday in november. everyone else piggy backs on this day to make things simpler

Old dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876693)

They just don't want to learn a new way to rig the vote when they have their system down pat for fixing the lever machines. I'm sure some Diebold "consultants" could help them out with that problem.

Re:Old dogs (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#43877193)

The old vote rigging was done by people in the mechanics union. Can't get them to touch electrical.

Louisiana sold its old lever voting machines (3, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | about a year ago | (#43876763)

Louisiana sold its old lever voting machines to Mexico when it got the new "touch" voting machines.

You would not believe how pissed off the Mexicans were when Edwin Edwards [wikipedia.org] was voted in as President of Mexico.

"Juan" Spammed you, SlashDot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876775)

In your comments to your New York returns to lever-voting machines story, slashdot, your moderators gave a score of (1) to "Juan" for spamming you with a Spanish language acne-cure advert.

ÂNo comprendas ninguno a slashdot Español?

Dear America, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43876797)

Stop taking an inherently distributed problem (voting) and trying to centralize it. Those of us who make parallel and distributed systems would love to have a "problem" that comes per-parralel. Why do you continually try to make it serial? You're embarrassing yourself.

Re:Dear America, (1)

Aerokii (1001189) | about a year ago | (#43877051)

I know the meanings of all the words you're saying but I'm having a difficult time actually understanding what you're talking about in the voting context. Please elaborate.

why? (2)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#43876895)

Ever since the US election system hit the international news in the first Bush election, the rest of the world has collectively been shaking its head and wondering why the US doesn't adopt the system that almost everyone else uses successfully: Paper and pens.

Every argument against it has been solidly debunked.

So what is it that feeds your fascination with deploying the most convoluted, crazy voting machines instead of using the more reliable machines you have in abundance - humans?

Re:why? (2)

amorsen (7485) | about a year ago | (#43877151)

The US tends to do lots of elections, which means that counting speed is more of a concern there than elsewhere. At the same time, community involvement in counting can be difficult to achieve uniformly across such a diverse country.

Paper and pen is still superior of course, but it makes sense that the US is where they look for alternatives.

Now if you could explain to me why the current Danish government goes "Oh shiny! Does it come with a 3D screen? When can we get them?" whenever anyone shows them an electronic voting machine... Luckily Danish politics are such that the government does not always get what it asks for, but sanity is unlikely to prevail forever.

Good. Work fine, harder to hack en masse. (1)

jbeach (852844) | about a year ago | (#43876905)

Like the subway system currently in NY also. Just like some mainframes, also. Fix something that needs fixing first.

Cripes this is ridiculous (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about a year ago | (#43876927)

RI went paper ballot over 30 years ago. All you do is mark up the ballot then feed it to the scanner. Couldn't be easier. The only time it gets interesting is when we have a ballot like that we had in the 2012 election. There was a federal, state, city, and then referendum ballot and they were printed on BOTH sides. That confused a lot of people.

Re:Cripes this is ridiculous (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year ago | (#43877203)

Did Bloomberg decide to run again? Term limits can't stop him...

Re:Cripes this is ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877317)

RI went paper ballot over 30 years ago

Rhode Island Population: 1.05 Million
New York Population: 19.47 Million

What might work for Rhode Island doesn't necessarily work for New York.

NYC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877063)

Winning any election the old fashioned way lol

What the cynic in me hears: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877431)

What they say: "We need to redeploy the lever-type voting machines because the new electronic machines are too cumbersome."

What the cynic in me hears: "For whatever reason, we can't manipulate the tallies this year (was Diebold's bid too expensive?) so we have to go back to old-fashioned vote-counting fraud."

I'm not saying that's what's happening or even that's what I believe. I'm just saying that there is an increasingly cynical part of me that translates anything politicians say to the worst possible outcome. In this case, it's not even entirely accurate as these voting machines are not entirely electronic (votes use a paper ballot, which is then scanned, which implies there is a paper trail if necessary, nor are the devices manufactured by Diebold) but try telling that to the evil little guy lurking inside of me; he's not interested in those sort of details ;-)

I'd like to say this is because politicians are increasingly becoming corrupt and untrustworthy, but that would imply they were less so in the past. It's more likely that I'm just getting older.

NYC full of retards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43877609)

So, in other words there are a lot of retarded people in NYC.

We've been using scantron sheets in Iowa for almost 20 years now without incident. But then again, we're simple people who just want our shit to work. I guess NYC likes being complicated for the sake of being complicated.

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