New Voting Machine Chosen for City
February 8th, 2008

The New York City Board of Elections today chose the ES&S AutoMARK voting machine as its new machine in a four to six roll call vote that took only moments. One machine will be placed in each polling place by the 2008 primaries to provide accessibility to disabled voters. It is an optical scanning device, so the actual ballot is cast on paper.

The only commissioner to explain his vote was the Democratic commissioner from Staten Island Queens, Terrence O’Connor. He said he chose ES&S because, “It was the least expensive, and we’re going to be voting again next year, and maybe next month.”

The decision comes after a series of twists and turns in a rapidly changing series of events, as O’Connor’s last comment would suggest. Just yesterday, the ES&S machine was placed back on the state’s list of voting machines that individual counties could choose from. This came after a series of lawsuits from voting machine vendors and reversals on certification from the state Board of Elections.

Even the city Board of Elections President James Sample didn’t realize a fourth machine was being considered. When he announced the machines the commissioners had to choose from, he left out one machine, and had to be corrected (although nobody voted for it).

NYPIRG‘s Neal Rosenstein credits Queens GOP Commissioner Anthony Como for the decision. In his observations, there was partisan deadlock over which machine to choose, and Como broke ranks with the other Republican commissioners who chose Sequoia’s Imagecast machine. He also suggested the vote be held today, a date that included ES&S’s machine on the list the commissioners could choose from.

The ES&S machine was one of those preferred by Center for Disability Rights. They had called on the state to include the machine on the certification list just days earlier.

And although NYPIRG doesn’t have a stance on which machine should be picked, Rosenstein is happy with the selection. “It’s clearly a victory for optical scanners.” But he has encouraged ES&S to ebrace some of the features of the Sequoia machine, primarily the fact that Sequoia’s software is available for inspection by the public.

“If anything,” he says, “it would help ensure public confidence in election results.”

By on February 8, 2008, 3:23 pm
In category: Albany,Governing,Tech | 5 Comments »

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5 Responses to “New Voting Machine Chosen for City”

  1. Neal Rosenstein/NYPIRG Says:
    February 8th, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Got my borough’s confused. Como and O’Connor are both from Queens.

  2. The BRAD BLOG : 'Daily Voting News' For February 08, 2008 Says:
    February 9th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    […] NY: New York City – New Voting Machine Chosen for City http://www.gothamgazette…achines-chosen-for-city/ […]

  3. Ann Arlen Says:
    February 17th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    It looks possible that New York has chosen an earlier ES&S model that California is finding problematic. See CA Secretary of State site and click through to their web info on machines.


  4. Ann Arlen Says:
    February 17th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Here it is:

  5. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Testing of New Voting Machines Behind Schedule Says:
    July 31st, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    […] a protracted battle, voting machines were finally chosen across the state in February. And things were quite on the voting machine front for a […]

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