Streams

Cancel the Voting Machines?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wendy Weiser, counsel in The Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, and Monifa Bandele, senior programs & outreach manager at The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, discuss a recent lawsuit which attempts to block the use of voting machines in New York, claiming they lead to the cancellation of tens of thousands of votes.

Guests:

Monifa Bandele and Wendy Weiser

Comments [7]

Edward from NJ

It seems like the center of the debate is the level of difficulty in changing the machines settings. I sincerely doubt that it amounts to "reprogramming". It's likely a matter of either opening an admin screen on the machine and changing a preference or flipping a physical dip switch on a concealed control panel. This shouldn't take more than a few minutes per machine. Maybe the BL show could follow up with the manufacturer ES&S: http://www.essvote.com/HTML/contact/contact.html

Jul. 14 2010 11:59 AM
Jansie from Rockland

I didn't hear the entire segment so the following may have been covered on the air. I recently saw one of these machines in action. If a voter over votes he will see on the screen "Don't Cast - Return Ballot" and "Cast Ballot". If he checks the first option his ballot will be returned uncounted and he returns to the table to acquire a new ballot (he has up to 3 chances to cast his vote). If he chooses to cast his ballot, the valid choices will be counted and the invalid choices will not be counted.

Jul. 14 2010 11:41 AM
Rima McCoy

The Brian Lehrer Show website should be updated because the Brennan Center is NOT trying to block the new voting machines, nor is the message, as Lehrer implied on the show, that we may possibly be using the old lever machines this fall. The new voting system provides a hard fought for accommodation so voters with disabilities can not only vote privately and independently, but can also cast ballots like everyone else. As such, it is problematic to give the impression that the Brennan Center is against these machines.
As the Voting Rights Coordinator for the Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY (CIDNY), I support the Brennan Center’s position that the new machines should be set to reject ballots that will not be counted when voters mark more choices for one contest than is allowed (overvote). Poll workers who may be overwhelmed learning the ropes of the new system will be less likely to help voters understand what the overvote message on the scanner means. This will particularly impact voters with disabilities who may need accommodations.

Jul. 14 2010 11:14 AM
Edward from NJ

Sounds like Brian is really going to miss the lever machines.

Jul. 14 2010 10:59 AM
Don from Long Island

As a software engineer, I want to know what code monkey designed these user interfaces? Software people are notoriously bad at designing user interfaces.

How many liberal art major college students, retired grandparents, bus drivers, artists, and other non-software people looked at these and said, "oh, I fully understand this!" I would bet between zero and zero. UI should be self-explanatory and designed defensively so that errors like these are not permissible.

Jul. 14 2010 10:56 AM
Luc

Just because this is New York, has anybody looked into who is providing the new machines?

Do they have any ties to the Bloomberg administration? Or city council or something?

Jul. 14 2010 10:55 AM
Jeff Pappas from Ct

Why not write a software program for ATM machines. They are secure, located everywhere and can give a receipt . Somehow we have to make sure 1 person 1 vote, ie multiple bank accounts, perhaps linked to your ss card

Jul. 14 2010 10:53 AM

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