NY’s BOE deals with pair of glitches, looks ahead to future elections

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New York’s Board Of Elections enjoyed a relatively smooth day on Tuesday. Still, the City faced a minor issue with some voters not knowing their polling locations had been changed since the 2012 election.

As voters made the journey to their respective polling locations, many left flustered and in search of their newly assigned polling centers. “There has been a lot of confusion at the polls with people not knowing where they need to be,” said Jon Sherman, a volunteer at voting rights organization Election Protection. “Because it’s the City, there are a ton of [polling centers] and they have to change frequently since there is a cap for each location.”

Another issue arose when New York’s progressive Working Families Party (WFP) sent out an e-mail alert warning voters that ballots had been set up to show gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino twice, potentially prompting confused voters to “mistakenly vote twice for governor thinking they were voting straight down the WFP line.” To this, the Board Of Elections’ Executive Director Michael Ryan assured the Daily News that the ballot “complies with New York State law.”

Looking ahead to future elections, New York took a rare opportunity to introduce a new technology to its voters on Tuesday, rolling out a pilot program that found one sixth of New York’s poll sites equipped with tablet devices on which voters could vote.

According to Ryan, the tablets were equipped with “software that was written by Board of Elections employees in-house, that will allow for the results at the end of the night to be uploaded directly from the poll sites,” a stark technological update for a state some say remains stuck in the past.

“There’s no online voter registration, no Election Day registration and no early voting in New York,” said Sherman, who admits that while “other states have gone into the 21st century,” New York’s election system “has not been modernized in the past decade,” leading to congested polling places on Election Day.

In addition to hopefully allowing online voter registration and early voting in future elections, the BOE’s tablet test is a step in the right direction for Election Day modernization in New York.

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