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Your New Ballot Stories: Frustration and Confusion at the Polls

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We've been asking you to send in your primary day reports, particularly your experience with the new ballot design. You tell us your stories when you text BALLOT to 30644 and we call you back.

Your reactions so far have been mixed: Some people found the new paper ballots simpler - Jim Petzke said it was as "easy as eating a piece of pie."  We had lots of reports of nearly empty polling stations and people who were "in and out in five minutes."

But many of you reported problems. Organisational issues at the polling stations included missing ballots, broken optical scanners and long lines. Wayne Alan Blood wrote to our Facebook page to say that he had been "unceremoniously turned away" because the ballots never arrived.

There were lots of complaints about the paper ballots themselves. Voters called the print "tiny", and the design confusing and difficult to understand.

But the most outrage was voiced over what many of our listeners felt was a lack of ballot secrecy: Meryl Salvinger said poll workers told her to scan her ballot face up "which seems kind of crazy, with a poll worker standing standing right there, looking at it. I didn't really care, but that could be a problem for some people." Another caller, Greg Hofer, was livid:

"My voting booth was two pieces of manila file folders taped together at the end of the poll workers table. Anyone could have walked behind me and seen how I voted. In the forty years that I have voted, and I have never missed an election, this is the first time I felt exposed ... and I was absolutely appalled."

And it's not just the IAFC crowd that is finding trouble, Mayor Bloomberg has called the voting troubles a "royal screw-up."

Below is a running list of the reports we've received, updated throughout the day...

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