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Bloomberg: New York Voting Machine System Is A ‘Nightmare’

Nov. 6, 2012 (credit: Rich Lamb / WCBS 880)

Nov. 6, 2012 (credit: Rich Lamb / WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When voting was still in progress Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted the voting machine system, calling it a “nightmare” and saying the old machines worked fine.

New York City uses the ES&S DS200 ballot scanner system, which features an optical scanner to read marked paper ballots and tally results. The New York State Board of Elections said the machines can tabulate votes immediately, and notify voters of any errors.

But Bloomberg said the new system only meant trouble for voters, WCBS 880 reported.

“Instead of you going to one place to get your card and then into a booth, you go to one place, you get a folder, a card, a ballot. Then you have to go to another place to fill it out where people can look over your shoulder. Then you’ve got to go to another place to stick that piece of paper into a scanning machine,” he said. “All of the crowds, it’s hard to get around. Nobody knows where anything is.”

Voters who spoke to Bloomberg were not pleased with the new system, Bloomberg said.

“Everybody I talked to kept saying, ‘What is this this?’” he said. “A lot of them had not voted in the last election when we had some of these machines, because it was a small election. They were just stunned, and they kept hearing, ‘What’s this, a third-world country?’”

Bloomberg said the new system is also trouble for those counting the votes.

“In the olden days, you looked at the number. You had two or three people look at the same number, make sure we wrote it down accurately, and called it in,” Bloomberg said. “Now, unfortunately, there are papers that come out, and they have to cut them with scissors and paste them and staple them together. They can get lost. They can get mixed up. It is just a nightmare, and it’s really hard to understand in this day and age how you could do that.”

He added that there was no reason why the old machines couldn’t have been fixed, rather than replaced.

“We did have machines, incidentally, that worked. You could go in, you close the curtain behind you, you pull the lever,” Bloomberg said. “I was told that they couldn’t get parts to repair them. You call the company and you make the parts you need. That would have been simple, and we wouldn’t have had to spend any more money.”

The electronic voting machines made their debut in 2010, in conjunction with the Help America Vote Act – a piece of legislation with which New York was the last state to comply, SILive reported.

Some of the machines broke down during the 2010 elections, prompting Bloomberg to slam the city’s Board of Elections for what he called a “royal screw-up,” SILive reported.

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