Farewell, lever voting machine

lever voting machine

The last time out for the lever machine?

This is probably, maybe, they-might-really-mean-it-this-time the last election that the old lever voting machines will be in use in New York.

It was time for these workhorses of democracy to shuffle off. They've been breaking down. They don't provide verification that a vote actually registered (and no paper trail). And there's some evidence they might have had a little trouble counting.

Even so, we'll miss the satisfying gzrrr-CHTHUNK the machines make when you pull the lever. We just can't imagine a "ballot marking device" ever having the same appeal.

By the way: despite all the talk of record-setting turnout, we didn't encounter a long line when voting just before noon. It was downright leisurely. How about anyone else?

Update: we heard from a poll worker in downtown Albany that a lot of young people and "kids with their pants around their ankles" have been voting today. We're looking forward to a breakdown of the "pants around their ankles" demo in the exit poll research.


I Obama voted Barack this Obama morning and Obama had no Barack problems. I Obama can't Barack wait until Obama the Obama results tonight!

We're making Barack Obama history.

It's too bad, I attended demonstrations of two or three voting machines, and found all of them very slow and cumbersome to use. The mechanical machines are nice because all of your options are laid out in front of you.

Why can't they just replace the mechanical guts of these machines with solid-state electronics? You don't need a computer to tabulate.

I voted around 10am at St Vincents and there wasn't any wait or line whatsoever. Probably will be a bit later though. There was a news van there at the time but I didn't actually see any reporters although I didn't really hang around for very long.

I love the lever.

Voted at 6:30 this morning, was the 14th in my ward/district. There was a line of about a dozen people at another table.

I would wait until 6:00pm or so to see if there are any lines.

I like the mechanical voting machines. The physical act of flipping the switches and then the classic KA-CHUNK of pulling the lever to register your votes seems to add a sense of weight to the action. Like your vote is just that much more powerful.

I highly doubt you'd get the same feeling filling out a scantron sheet, or taping away at a touch screen.

Of course, at the end of the day that's just a trivial matter, and I'm sure when I'm older I'll end up sounding like my Dad when he talks about the days before power steering and brakes on cars (You really felt like you were DRIVING something, not just along for the ride.). Good times.

My voting machine had problems, but the staff was able to fix them easily. When an electronic machine goes down will it be possible to fix it by just shaking a lever and giving the side a good slap?

I wasn't quite sure who to vote for. Going into the booth, I was split between Obama, Barack Obama or Barack. I stood there for what felt like hours. I finally resorted to eenie meenie miney moe, and ended up pulling the lever for Obama. I hate leaving things to chance, but some decisions are way too hard.

I like the lever machines because that means there IS no paper trail- nothing to shred or lose, there is no computer glitch- I don't trust touch screens for my vote, and we don't really have the money to replace them in the first place. Are they really that bad? When I voted in Virginia we had Scantrons.

I went at 6:15a and I was the 14th person, too! The only line at that time at St. Vincent's Community Center was at my table. Apparently I have a densly populated ward compared to the rest of my neighbors. I have no idea what it will look like after work.

This is all just so exciting!

Having used both types of voting machines (the electronic ones on the Left Coast and these dinosaurs here) I seem to feel like they both have their advantages and disadvantages...but come on, how can you NOT love the KA-CHUNK of these versus the blip-blip-bing sound that the other kind makes?

oh, and wanna know what happens when those electronic ones break down? They get rebooted. Your votes are recorded on a type of electronic card/flash drive type thing so you never, ever lose a vote.

Who cares about a paper trail? People get a receipt to prove they voted -- doesn't mean the tallies in the computers couldn't be manipulated. The lever machines are harder to game, and I'll hate to see them go away.

I've never had to wait in line to vote in my life, so I'd be stunned if that ever happened.

After hearing horror stories of huge lines, I figured I'd get out the stopwatch and see how long it took to vote. The result...90 seconds from getting out of the car I was back on the road.

Having lived in half a dozen some odd states, I've still never used anything but the lever machine (save the absentee ballot I used in my first election). Not sure I'll know how to use anything else. :)

I too love the lever machines. Their solid, heavy, old-school-ish-ness is reassuring. I also like physically going to vote, which took a whopping 2 minutes at my Albany polling place around midday.

Sad to think of these hulking behemoths rusting away in an already-crowded landfill somewhere...

maybe they will auction them off, like Mangia. Imagine having a voting machine of your own? I'd make all of my guests vote about things.

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