Disaster On Primary Day As Machine Glitches Cause Chaos

NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880/1010 WINS) — There were major problems at the polls on primary day in New York and it’s all connected to the debut of the state’s new electronic voting machines.

New York City spent $160 million on new voting machines, but the roll out was embarrassing.

Some polling places opened as much as four hours late and thousands may have been unable to cast ballots, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“That is a royal screw-up and it’s completely unacceptable,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Sources told CBS 2 that the list of problems was astonishing, including: broken machines, missing machines, missing emergency ballots and workers totally unprepared to assist voters and resolve technical glitches.

And probably the most unforgivable was the fact that polling places opened hours late.

One polling place at 38 Water St., in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn was still closed at 8:30 Tuesday morning, two and a half hours after its scheduled 6 a.m. start.

Another polling place at 350 Fifth Ave. in Park Slope still wasn’t open at 8:15 a.m.

And most ironic, one at 339 8th St. — Camp Friendship — didn’t open until after 9, because the keys to open the voting machines didn’t arrive.

That’s where Public Advocate Bill de Blasio votes and he was furious.

“Literally we have right now thousands from what I’ve heard already, could be 10,000 New Yorkers turned away, didn’t get to vote, may not get to vote, and that’s outrageous,” de Blasio said.

“Unfortunately, this could decide the election in some cases, literally, which machines were working and which weren’t, could decide this election.”

Mayor Bloomberg blamed the board of elections.

“The board is a remnant of the days when Tammany Hall ran New York. New Yorkers deserve better than this and the time has come to fix it,” Bloomberg said.

As public advocate, de Blasio said he’s going to do the oversight to try to fix the problems, but the elections in November are only seven weeks away.

“I got there at 6:20 a.m. They hadn’t plugged the machines in yet. They weren’t sure how to sign people in. They signed me in, they first gave me a Republican ballot instead of a Democratic ballot,” Judi Wind, a Lower East Side resident, told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reports.

State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said the reports of problems were at a typical level, no different from what was experienced with the lever machines.

“As far as we’re concerned, it’s the normal amount for an election day,” Conklin said.

In Pelham, three of five new electronic voting machines were out of service when polls opened.

Voters in several districts were turned away or given emergency ballots because of a glitch in optical scan machines making their debut Tuesday. The machines were out of service about two and a half hours.

Strips of paper failed to pop up from the machines. Poll worker Frank Zumpano said it turned out the paper had some glue on the back.

Paper ballots are fed into the machines to be read and tabulated. The system is New York’s attempt to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: New Voting, New Problems
1010 WINS’ John Montone speaks with Rangel at P.S. 175
WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane with voters in Bronxville and Pelham
WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs with Rick Lazio as he votes in Bay Shore
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond with a look as some races and issues
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb on Bloomberg backing Rangel

Governor David Paterson showed up early at P.S. 175 to vote for the person he thinks should take his job.

“The public service of Andrew Cuomo over a number of years in November, I think he will be an overwhelming winner,” Paterson said.

Cuomo will square off against the winner of a hotly-contested Republican primary. “I think it’s going to be very close so that’s why I made it my business to come out,” said Claudette Abdul-Aleem. I think it’s going to be very close in all categories.”

Former representative Rick Lazio has sealed the GOP’s endorsement.

“I’ve been a Contract With America congressman, I was on the budget committee that wrote the first balanced budget, I’ve always voted to lower taxes,” he said.

However, he’s fighting a late race surge from Carl Paladino, a Buffalo businessman who’s been embraced by the Tea Party. “I found out that they’re all just like us,” he said.

Cuomo’s exiting his post as attorney general left a hotly-contested void.

In the race for Attorney General, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice is the statistical frontrunner and is fighting a field of five challengers.

Rice’s biggest opposition was State Senator Eric Schneiderman. She’s worked to cast him as an Albany insider, but he has labor unions in his corner, and has been gaining momentum.

“A lot of conflict and I think its going to be a pretty close race,” one Harlem resident said.

And then there are the scandals. State Senator Pedro Espada is facing a slew of corruption charges and is in a high-stakes standoff with Gustavo Rivera, who has been endorsed by Democratic heavy-hitters, including The Rev. Al Sharpton, and several local newspapers.

“We will sing a song of victory and push our enemies out,” Espada said.

Congressman Charlie Rangel’s 40-year career has recently been clouded with ethics charges.  He was trying to fend off a field of five challengers, who said he was too tarnished by ethics concerns to keep his job.

He said Tuesday was the public hearing he felt he’s deserved all along. “It certainly is the hearing that the writers of the Constitution decided.”

At P.S. 175 in Harlem, crowds cheered wildly for Rangel as he voted Tuesday morning; one man even said he would vote for the embattled congressman twice. “It was great to see that the district has felt it necessary to reaffirm their faith in me,” Rangel said.

One of the challengers he was facing is the son of the man he replaced four decades ago.

Analysts were predicting a fairly low voter turnout of about 10-percent.

Comments (115)
  1. rtyecript says:

    I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

  2. intimpirsing641 says:

    Hello everybody, how do you do
    My handle’s Pigeon Johnny
    LA symph’s the band
    I remember what you’re thinking
    Who is this fool
    My name’s Pigeon Johnny
    I type the ladies drool
    Not indeed but it sounds unexcitable conceding that

  3. Tatiana Covington says:

    Millions of ATMs work flawlessly round the clock nationwide, there’s the Internet, there are computers capable fo designing genes and medicines from first principles, all this in a society that can reliably track robots at Mars and Saturn.

    However, after inventing atomic power and landing on the Moon and wiping out smallpox and polio, it can’t build reliable voting machines.

    Do you believe that? No, they’re designed to fail!

  4. Tony R. says:

    Okay, let’s get serious for a moment.
    Lets get the government to take over health care and fix that, before we worry about these silly little machines.

    Oh wait. They can’t even get this to work

  5. Jubal says:

    What do you expect? People were ready for more Black Panthers and SEIU members to intimidate them. Too visible. Let’s mess with the machines. Anything to keep people from voting. Would like to see a demographic map of the problem sites.

  6. J Thornwell says:

    Wow, four hours late….oh wait. that still puts them way ahead of us in upstate. We didn’t have our polling stations open till noon. Go figure.

  7. Bill G says:

    All these problems from New Yorkers, northeast liberals who claim themselves to be so much more intellectual than the country bumpkins of fly-over America. Maybe you NYC snobs should come to Georgia. Most of us “rednecks” figured out these machines a long time ago. You guys are still hung up on hanging chads. Hahaha…..

  8. Mark Carlton says:

    This is the predictable result when incompetence meets Murphy. That’s why people with common sense do testing, dry runs, and rehearsals beforehand.

  9. Auntie Sammie says:

    What, did a progressive fav lose or something? Because the only time we hear about “disenfranchisement” or voter machine “glitches” is when the progressive/democrat loses. When they win, every machine worked like a charm and “oh no, the intimidation tacticts outside a voter precinct by a band of thug black panthers tapping billy clubs on their hands is just a “welcome committee”.

    Also, I thought ALL of NYC was known as the dumbo section. I mean, you vote for Charlie Corruption Rangel (Corruption IS his middle name). Huh. You learn something new every day.

  10. Kevin says:

    Now you know why its so damn hard to find an ATM in black neighborhoods. Folks there simply can’t figure out how to use them.

  11. “In the DUMBO section of New York” Umm, hmmm, that would be the WHOLE section of the liberal pie in the sky NEW YORK.

    You just can’t make this stuff up!


  12. O Fukitol says:

    Funny. The machines don’t work or the polls aren’t open when Republicans generally like to vote: In the morning on their way to work (or after work on their way home). Then the polls open for the Dems staying home and living off the government to show up and vote.

    Oh, and what’s with refreshing the page while comments are being typed? Nice website.

    1. Auntie Sammie says:

      I agree with everything you said. Also, the refreshing IS a pain in the butt on this website. Literate people generally like to make sure their comments are grammatically correct and that their thoughts come across sounding at least a level or two above ebonics. But on this site, by the time you proofread your comment, it’s gone.

  13. freods says:

    So what do people expect? This is just setting the stage for massive voter fraud in November. Remember the 1000s of voting machines burned in Texas? A coup has taken place in the US with a corrupt and compiant DOJ. Wait until the shenanigans start with absentee military ballots.

  14. jrjr says:

    I do not remember — is this the first time that electronic voting machines failed, poll workers didn’t know how to turn the key, or didn’t know how to turn the lights on?

    1. Auntie Sammie says:

      No. EVERYTIME a progressive loses the voting machines fail. Didn’t you get the memo? Wink wink.

  15. barks says:

    “As far as we’re concerned, it’s the normal amount for an election day,” Conklin said.
    My gosh, II live in Atlanta and WE get trashed all the time up North for being backward and dumb! I haven’t experienced a voting experience like that since I moved here. Everything runs like clock work and the volunteers are polite and well trained. What low expectations your election officials have. It’s really sad.

  16. YourNeighbor says:

    As poorly written as this article is… I gathered the organization was the biggest problem, rather than the machines.

    The machine can’t work unless it’s plugged in.

    Interesting, so many anti-democrat’s on CBS news page.

  17. jasonusa says:

    First it was a problem with Chads now with new electronic voting machines maybe the problem is with the low life liberal dem’s with a 50 IQ-

  18. Rob Roy 777 says:

    “It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”

    {Josef Stalin}

    “As long as I count the votes around here, what are you gonna do about it?”

    {William Marcy “Boss” Tweed, legendary New York Democrat election crook}

  19. john smith says:

    The Democrats want the Republicans to win this one. That way it’ll be easy to keep their seats. What the Democrats are scared to death of is the Tea Party. Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Frighten them from go to Vomit a=in 3 seconds.

  20. john smith says:

    Can you say SEIU and ACORN under its new name????? By crackies I knew you could. It’s been a long time since the Democrat Party didn’t look for a way to cheat.

  21. DEF says:


  22. smilinjack says:

    Slimy worms………..

  23. smilinjack says:

    Knowing New York this is probably just a way to fix an election.

  24. academiamole says:

    Your Tax Dollars at Work

  25. ArrDee says:

    Yeppers… we will see a lot more “errors” and “glitches” – especially this November. The Dems tried their damndest to steal the White House for Gore, and they’ll pull out all of the stops to keep hold of power – and HISALMIGHTYGLOWINGYETLOWBOWING Obama-ness on the throne. Assorted farting noises to you all.

  26. chucky says:

    welcome to NYC, the self proclaimed greatest city in the world

  27. Suffocating blue state... says:

    Maybe this explains the unexplainable ‘blue state’ phenomenon. I’ve always doubted so many vote democrat.

  28. Brian says:

    only in bloomberg’s fiefdom can voting machines malfunction.had no problem in nassau

  29. Jeanine B. says:

    HEY MICH, the whole voting machine process WAS run by a business — the company from Nebraska who manufactured them and sat behind the scenes at the Election Board to calibrate these damn things for weeks before they went out!

    But, yeah, Brandon is right — we need more than a 2-party system, give us 4
    choices. Fact is, you can’t even work at the Board of Elections unless you are registered with either of the 2 major parties — which remain MAJOR because nobody else is allowed in! We’ve got a sad, Third World-style mess on our hands.

  30. joe says:

    The big voting scam is underway.

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