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‘Lever Machines’ Category

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

NYC: Goodbye, Lever Voting

Lever Machine

In May, we brought you the story of how New York State was atwitter – in reality and online – about how best to ditch a vestigial organ of elections past: the lever voting machine. Today New York City is finally doing it, and not without further debate, David W. Chen reports this morning for the New York Times.

After years of delays and fierce lobbying, the city’s Board of Elections on Tuesday afternoon selected Election Systems and Software, an Omaha company, to provide new electronic voting machines in time for the September 2010 primary.

Voters will now be required to fill out paper ballots with ovals, similar to SAT exams, before feeding them into a fax-like scanner.

The change means that New York City will finally be in compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002. That law was passed to avoid a repeat of the recount debacle in Florida after the 2000 presidential election, and to help disabled people vote.

For more on the switch, read the complete story here.

You can watch me watching others attempt to use the machines that led to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 in this vlog. Hope you have a laugh.

Photo of NY lever voting machine via the schneider clan on Flickr.

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Lever Voting, The NYT, and Twitter

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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