Problem Poll: Troubles with the Primary Vote
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Nearly half the polling sites in New York City had problems with a voting machine on primary day. 17 percent of polling sites in Manhattan didn't open on time. And out of 125 poll workers sampled, 54 did not pass the required training.
These are among the highlights in State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's report on "Voting-Related Problems" during the primary.
DiNapoli's report also said that many of the technical malfunctions with the new voting machines were due to "the inexperience and lack of training of the poll workers."
The report was released Tuesday, the same day the city Board of Elections announced in a letter to voters they were taking steps to run a smoother operation for the Generel Election two weeks away. The new steps include coordinating with other agencies to ensure polling sites open on-time, and recruiting more students to work the polls.
When asked if the effort to hire students was aimed at getting younger workers to work the polls, which now require more tech-savviness, a spokeswoman for the city Board of Elections said, "the Board has already recruited and trained twenty percent more poll workers than last year. This additional recruitment will be to supplement those efforts."
According to DiNapoli, there are 4.47 million voters in New York City; 34,800 poll workers; 6,109 election districts; and 1,358 polling sites.
Problematic incidents with the electronic scaning machines occured most often in Brooklyn, which had 466 incidents, DiNapoli said. Manhattan has 328; Queens had 219; the Bronx had 213 and Staten Island had only 78 reported incidents.
"No election is without hiccups," said the city Board of Elections spokeswoman, Valerie Vazquez. The debut of the new electrionic voting machines "represented a major change in the voting process for New York City voters" and "whenever a significant change is introduced, we experienced some issues."