THEY REPRESENT YOU
A NEW VOTING SYSTEM FOR NEW YORK
While optical scanner machines are new to voters in New York City, paper ballot optical scan elections
have been taking place for many years all over the country. In the 2009 elections voters in
all or part of 42 upstate counties used optical scanning systems in a pilot project which was
reported to be highly successful. Many New York City residents have had experience filling
out paper forms which are then optically scanned, such as standardized tests like SATs and
lottery tickets. With lottery tickets the purchaser gets a paper receipt. With paper ballots,
which are optically scanned, the paper ballot is stored in a locked container beneath the
scanner. A percentage of paper ballots are audited to assure that the scanners correctly tabulate the votes.
For voters who have vision problems or cannot fill out the ballot by hand, AutoMARK ballot
marking devices (BMDs) are available in each poll site. They enable voters to view or listen
to the ballot in any of the required languages and are equipped with a Braille-enhanced
keypad, a sip & puff device and a rocker paddle. Ballots marked on BMDs will be counted
on the same optical scanners used by all voters.
The impetus for states and localities to purchase new voting machines came from the Help
America Vote Act (HAVA) which was enacted in 2002 in reaction to the problems with
counting votes in Florida in the 2000 Presidential election. For the first time Congress
established standards for voting machines and offered states financial support to purchase
voting machines which met these standards: They must be accessible to voters with disabilities
and must provide voters with an opportunity to change their vote.
Subsequent to passage of HAVA it became apparent that the systems must contain a paper
trail and many states, including New York, made this a requirement.
New York is one of the last states to select new voting systems and implement this aspect of
HAVA. However, in the course of making this selection, the New York State Board of
Elections subjected all of the voting systems to the most strenuous and comprehensive tests
carried out anywhere in the country. On December 15, 2009, the NYS Board of Elections
certified two optical scan voting systems from which New York City and the state's other
counties could select the system of their choice. On January 5, 2010, the New York City
Board of Elections voted to purchase the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) DS 2000
Scanners. ES&S also manufactures the AutoMARK ballot marking devices which have been
used in New York City elections since 2008.
This election, Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs) are also available at polling sites to assist voters, especially those with disabilities, to vote. BMD ballots will be counted with paper ballots. For more information about BMDs, call 866-VOTE-NYC (212-487-5496 for the hearing impaired) or visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us/bmdenglishfaqtxt.html.
of Women Voters of the City of New York
4 West 43rd Street, Suite 615, New York, NY 10036
Tel: (212) 725-3541 Fax: (212) 725-3443
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Web: http://www.lwvnyc.org
| NYC Government | They
How to Reach Elected Officials | Register
League Publications | Useful
Links | Telephone Information Service
About The League | Our
Newsletter | League Activities
Actions and Testimony | Membership | Contact
Us | Home
All Rights Reserved