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Lever Voting, The NYT, and Twitter

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

NYT Lever Voting Picture

Props to New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee for using Twitter to follow up on a cool voting machines story.

On May 24th I noticed her article about New York’s “love affair” with lever voting machines. New York is the only state in the Union to still use this technology, and Lee’s article outlined the debate over whether or not keeping the machines around is a good or a bad thing. But one thing was left unresolved in her article: which counties in New York would be ditching the machines in favor of optical-scan systems. So I sent her a tweet to see if she had an update.

@WhyTuesday? to @jenny8lee

A few days later, I also tweeted her with an article saying that 16 counties were losing lever voting.

@WhyTuesday to @jenny8lee #2

Ah, the power of Twitter. The next day, Lee tweeted me back saying my tweet had inspired her to do an update to her story to see what New York City’s plans were!

Jenny 8. Lee Response

The update was that New York City was resisting New York State’s push for an optical-scan pilot program and would be sticking with the lever voting machines. The reasoning?

“Participation in the pilot program proposed by the State Board of Elections is not authorized by state law,” said Gregory C. Soumas, the Democratic elections board commissioner for Manhattan. “Any expenditures for voting systems incurred pursuant to the state board’s pilot program are not authorized by law.”

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