Voting booths cause problems in Garden City

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There are changes you need to know about if you are voting this fall.  There will be no more lever pulling, curtain moving voting machines.

New York has joined the rest of the country this year by retiring the old voting machines and replacing them with new and more “efficient” voting practices which will allow for both an electronic and paper copy ballot.

“When you go to vote you’ll still have to sign your name but now you will get a paper ballot and fill it out in a privacy booth,” said Board of Elections Instructor Laura Lane.

Officials compare this new voting system to something like the SAT exam or a lottery ticket – voters have to fill in a “bubble” in a box that matches the candidate of their liking.

These new machines went on display in community centers and shopping malls across Nassau County.  The demonstrations were all leading up to the September primary elections.

For two weeks, shoppers at Roosevelt Field Mall had the opportunity to take a break from bargain hunting and instead learn about the new system.

“For people that are not computer literate, I think it’s going to be a problem,” said Oceanside resident Mary Elfaro, who had no idea that the machines would be at the mall when she was shopping.  “But I’m a teacher, I work with things like this all the time so I’m confident.”

Even though New York is the last state to replace the the old lever pushing voting machines, Nassau County was one of the few areas to hold workshops.

“From what I read in the paper and heard on the radio I thought this would be terrible, however now that I’ve seen it I feel OK,” said Brooklyn resident Frank Piscatelli.

Piscatelli clearly did not represent the rest of the Empire State, as primary day was chaos across New York with reports surfacing from the city and throughout Long Island about voting problems.

Issues included machines not accepting ballots, not being able to read a ballot, or not returning an incorrect ballot.

One of the features the Board of Elections officials spoke of as the “best part”, was the fact that if a person made a mistake, the machines would tell them.  Errors could include forgetting to vote for a race or voting twice in the same race.

On Tuesday that did not happen.  Some voters across New York who had this issue could not get their ballots back and were denied a revote. The board of elections had no comment on Tuesday.

No more voting behind a curtain in New York

“It’s completely unacceptable,” said New York City Mayor Michael R.  Bloomberg, referring to the new voting machine performance. “There is a total absence of accountability for how the board performed on Election Day—because the board is a remnant of the days when Tammany Hall ran New York.”

“New Yorkers deserve better than this,” he said. “And the time has come to fix it.”  The mayor went on to call the new system and its Tuesday debut a “royal screw-up”.