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Archive for December, 2011
Lucretia Regina-Potter, Republican District Leader 49AD
State Board of Elections allows these optical scanning machines to discard your votes.
EDITORIAL- NY Daily News
Monday, December 12, 2011
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers who went to the polls in 2010 were disenfranchised thanks to the rank incompetence of the state Board of Elections.
That panel — as opposed to the equally inept city operation — set the procedures for casting paper ballots that are counted by electronic scanners. One basic question was how the scanners would deal with ballots on which voters had filled in two ovals for the same race.
For example, one oval for candidate Andrew Cuomo and one oval for candidate Carl Paladino.
Such multiple voting — termed overvoting — was impossible with the old mechanical voting machines. You could not pull the lever and record your vote if you had flicked two switches in a race.
Numerous voting watchdog groups urged the state board to program scanners so they would spit back a ballot with an overvote, clearly alerting a voter of the need to make a fix.
This was simple. This was certain. This was rejected.
Instead, the board set the scanners to display a confusing message informing voters they had overvoted and — hard to believe — actually enticed people to submit the invalid ballots.
Oh, and those ballots would not count.
The Brennan Center at NYU Law School sued before the election to prevent mass disenfranchisement. The board forged ahead nonetheless. Now, the suit has begun to reveal how often voters cast invalid ballots.
Partial results have discovered 50,000 votes that were invalidated, with more to come. Even getting the data was difficult because half the local boards across the state didn’t have the information. As for the city board, those dim bulbs lost the overvote data for 56% of the election districts in Brooklyn and Queens.
Clarity in the voting booth is critical to credible elections. So, too, a full count of votes. New York’s Board of Elections is delivering neither, and it’s offering only an inadequate fix — such as modifying the confusing message on the scanners to at least say the ballot won’t count. But they’re not sure they can even put that minimal change into place by the 2012 election, now a year away.
Forget it. The scanners should be programmed to reject any ballot that has conflicting multiple votes in the same race.