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Rough start for electronic voting in New York

Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls the debut of the new voting system 'a royal screw-up.' Late deliveries and malfunctioning machines are reported on primary day.

September 14, 2010|By Geraldine Baum, Los Angeles Times
(David Duprey / Associated…)

Reporting from New York — New Yorkers had so many problems breaking in a new electronic voting system, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared a "royal screw-up" on primary day.

Replacing the old lever machines not just in the city but also across the state was a new system in which voters marked paper ballots and then fed them into scanners. Early reports were that scattered polling places either opened hours late because the machines had yet to be delivered or had long lines because others malfunctioned.

Mayor Bloomberg spelled out all the problems reported with the new system Tuesday and condemned the city's Board of Elections for not being better prepared. It was "completely unacceptable," he told reporters.

Across the state, election officials encouraged voters to have patience with the new system.

But many people were having a hard time adjusting — and were not sure they ever would.

Susan Berdinka described in a Twitter posting how after her paper ballot was rejected by the scanner at her polling place on Long Island, it popped back out and people around her could see who she voted for. "This may be the Facebook generation," Berdinka wrote, "but I, for one, would prefer that the contents of my vote be protected."

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