Voting system overhauled with scanners


| bdoda@queenscourier.com |


THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

As the last state in the union to adopt the Help America Vote Act of 2002, New York certainly has the upper-hand in terms of working out the kinks the new voting system might include.

The curtain and lever system has gone extinct in favor of a three-step procedure that will be “an easy process,” according to Republican Board of Elections (BOE) commissioner Judith Stupp.

“The only thing that has changed is the equipment,” said Stupp, referring to the nuts and bolts of the election process. Voters will still be required to sign in and privately make their selections without any sort of time limit.

The equipment refers to a paper ballot that must be marked clearly with a provided tethered pen and placed in a DS200 Ballot Scanner, which uses an optical scanner to read intended votes. This allows paper ballots to be tabulated without delay at a polling site and to correct any errors the voter may have made. Along with a paper record of ballots, the scanner comes equipped with a memory stick and “tamper tape,” which also tallies votes.

“Our mission at the Board of Elections is to get voters to feel comfortable with the new system,” said Stupp. “This is a monumental undertaking.”

According to Stupp, poll workers have received comprehensive training and will be able to answer any questions voters might have.

Whether the new system will be too confusing for some voters will not be seen until the fall elections later this year, but the BOE would like to remind potential voters that demonstrations of the new systems will be available through the end of the summer.

“Of course there are going to be hiccups but the more people who have exposure to the new machines before Election Day, the more confidence voters will have,” said Stupp.

Open public demonstrations organized by local leaders and the Board of Elections will take place at the Woodside Branch Library on August 18 and the Maspeth Branch Library on August 25; both will be held between 1-3 p.m.