Streams

Voting Vignettes

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Charles BlowNew York Times visual Op-Ed columnist; Julie Lasky, editor of the Change Observer channel at Design Observer and former editor-in-chief of I.D.; and Milton Glaser, designer of the "I [Heart] NY" logo check in throughout the day to talk about the design of the new voting system.

Guests:

Charles M. Blow, Milton Glaser and Julie Lasky

Comments [11]

carolita from inwood, ny

there were no machines at my voting station, just paper ballots and scanners. Did not inspire confidence. I don't care about privacy, but the little booths with the dim lights and pens on a rope where you're supposed to fill out your paper ballots were dinky -- how could they possibly be the right height for everyone? Plus, the paper ballots were not very easy to read. I managed, but I could imagine someone else a little more tired or a little less focused than me getting confused. A little color coding or separation of the different categories would have been helpful. I do have to commend the people working there. They were as helpful as they possibly could be, and pleasant.

Sep. 14 2010 06:28 PM
Terri from Manhattan

Forget about privacy. Anyone can read your vote as you fill in your ballot at a booth. Bring reading glasses even if you don't need them yet. The typeface is tiny and the magnifying glasses in my booth was missing. Since you can't fold or roll your ballot and since no folders were given out, your ballot can be easily read by anyone on line to scan your ballot -- unless, of course, you clutch it to your chest. Then the poll worker stand right next to you as you scan your ballot face up. This is privacy? Finally, I saw only 2 scanners at my Upper East Side school and was glad it was a primary election with few voters. Otherwise I'd have been there for hours.

Sep. 14 2010 03:08 PM
Emily from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Using a large magnifying sheet was bad, but the more I think about it, the lack of privacy for the process is the most distressing. I miss the feeling of being truly alone in the booth, and the way that closing the curtain hammered home (to me at least) the idea that your vote, no matter what, was your own. No one, not the person who'd come with you, not the poll worker, no one, would know what you did in there. I remember 2008, when the curtain closed, being so deliberate about my vote, offering up a silent prayer, and — phone camera in hand — taking a photo of my finger on the lever as I pulled it for such a momentous day. Could I have done any of those things this morning? Not a chance. Reading everyone's comments here, I realize I'm just lucky that the scanner was working!

Sep. 14 2010 01:50 PM
Emily from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Using a large magnifying sheet was bad, but the more I think about it, the lack of privacy for the process is the most distressing. I miss the feeling of being truly alone in the booth, and the way that closing the curtain hammered home (to me at least) the idea that your vote, no matter what, was your own. No one, not the person who'd come with you, not the poll worker, no one, would know what you did in there. I remember 2008, when the curtain closed, being so deliberate about my vote, offering up a silent prayer, and — phone camera in hand — taking a photo of my finger on the lever as I pulled it for such a momentous day. Could I have done any of those things this morning? Not a chance. Reading everyone's comments here, I realize I'm just lucky that the scanner was working!

Sep. 14 2010 01:26 PM
Hugh Appet

I vote on the Upper West Side at a school on 109th St. While the volunteers are great for doing the job, they always seem discombobulated. But what struck me as really bad is that the machines or machine there was not working. No one told us that. After filling out my ballot, I was told to wait in a line for one scanning machine. People were gingerly feeding their ballots into a slot with no privacy whatsoever. As I got closer, I could see the slot was marked Emergency Ballot Slot.

I asked the woman what was going on and only then was told that there was no working scanner in the gym. But my vote would be counted later. Well, the woman who gave me my ballot in the first place asked me if I had filled in the circles properly. I assumed I would find out when I scanned my ballot. Now I don't know and won't know if I filled out my ballot correctly. And if there is a decision to be made about my vote, someone else is going to make it. Shades of hanging chads and Florida 2000.

I am really unhappy about that. At least with the old machines, I could assume that once I pulled the handle, my vote was tallied in the machine. Well, I took that on faith of course. But I am not happy that these scanners could not even stand up to a primary with light voting. And I did not have the assurance of knowing whether I filled out my ballot correctly. That needs to change. I hope you do some story about it. Who decides on questionable ballots?

Sep. 14 2010 12:46 PM
L. Garrett

I had a terrible time finding my polling site. I usually vote in PS8 at the end of Hicks St. I got there, saw campaign posters all about, and decided that despite the construction there must be an entry. After 10 minutes of rifling around I saw a hand-written sign posted at the entry to the school saying "No Voting Here". Attached to it was a list of nursing homes. I studied the list for a while, but couldn't figure out from it where I was supposed to vote.

I wandered the neighborhood, entering polling sites and asking if this is where I vote.

I finally found a poll volunteer who took me to the Cadman Synagogue and showed me where to vote.

By then, my "quick vote" experience had taken an hour. When I got into the "booth" I was greeted by a poster stuck up inside the booth telling me to vote for a particular Assembly candidate. I called out to the poll volunteers, saying that it was illegal to post signs inside polling sites. It was removed.

Once I actually was able to vote, the new digital scanners were painless and easy.

L. Garrett

Sep. 14 2010 11:45 AM
Meryl from BRooklyn NY

Problem w voting today -

scanner jammed with my ballot in it. I had to ask poll workers for paper ballot. THey were clueless what to do. AND the ysiad it had jammed with the test ballot earlier. Why they did nottake it out of service is a mystery to me.

The ballot print is EXTREMELY small - I'm only 46 and it was hard for me to read!

NO one seems to know if you have to put the ballot in face up or down. putting it in face up is a ridiculous flaw.

a mess as I thought it would be

Sep. 14 2010 11:09 AM

Scott
the voting machines have to always be watched, so no they could not be set up last night

Sep. 14 2010 10:36 AM
BRIAN

An election worker did a demonstration of the new system at our local poling place last week. Contrary to what was said on your show just now, he said that the page is equally scanable either upside down or right-side-up, and is fed in by the voter.

Sep. 14 2010 10:35 AM
Elizabeth from Manhattan

There's a shocking flaw in the new paper system, at least as my husband and I experienced it at our local polling place on the Upper West Side -- it does away with privacy.

Our ballots were fed, vote-side-up, into the scanner, with our votes on display to the poll worker. The poll worker told us that the scanners accepted the ballots only if they were fed in this direction, and the "coordinator" in charge confirmed this piece of information, agreeing that the procedure compromised voter privacy.

It is hard for me to believe that an entire design for collecting votes could violate an essential tenet of the democratic process! And even if the poll workers at our precinct were misinformed, and ballots can be fed into the scanner vote-side-down to preserve privacy, this design opens up the system to easy abuse.

Sep. 14 2010 08:46 AM
Scott Lundberg from 72nd precinct Brooklyn

At six twenty the voting machines weren't up yet. The poll worker said they didn't arrive until 5:35. Since when is election day a fuzzy deadline?????????

Shouldn't they have been up and running last night. Then when things went wrong They'd have time to fix it.

What are John Ravitz & George Gonzalez going to do after this?

Sep. 14 2010 08:01 AM

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