New life for the lever voting machine?

lever voting machine

A lever machine at an Albany polling place last November.

Last November was supposed to be the final "ka-chunk" for New York State's lever voting machines. But NYT's City Room reports there's a movement to keep people pulling the lever:

In the last several weeks, three counties -- Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia -- and the Association of Towns have passed resolutions urging the New York State government to enact laws allowing the lever machines to stay. In addition, the city's Board of Elections held a hearing last week to hear lever supporters make their case for keeping the machines in New York.

"We're where lever machines were born, and if I have my way, it's not where they are going to die," said Andrea Novick, founder of the Election Transparency Coalition, who has been litigating on this issue.

We admit that the gzrrr-CHTHUNK of democracy is a satisfying sound -- but it's not like these machines aren't without their problems. They don't provide verification of whether a vote was actually cast -- and there's some evidence the machines have had trouble counting.

Earlier on AOA: Farewell, lever voting machine


I wonder what's wrong w/a simple pen and paper voting system? You can count/re-count the votes easily, write-ins aren't a problem, etc.

Why, oh why can't our legislators ever make the simplest things... simple?

They had better not get rid of them! They'll have to take my voting lever.... FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!

Last night Schuyler County joined the quest to keep our levers. If for no other reason, we should keep them because of the costs that accrue when we change.

Op-scanners have to be housed in a climate controlled warehouse; reprogrammed for every election, maintained by skilled computer technicians. The technicians have to be on-call for every polling place for every election. Schuyler estimates these costs at $100,000 every year.

Broome County estimates 65cents per paper ballot -- $107,000 for their 116,000 voters per election.

And just a note to all of you advocating paper ballots -- it just took a Staten Island NYC Council District four days to count 11,000 paper ballots. Imagine how long it would take to count Albany.

Anyway, between annual maintenance and paper ballots, that's $200,000 for small counties. For taxpayers.

In this economy, it seems like this is a budget reduction we could all get behind.

I say we go back to the good old days of the electorate toilet-flush.

If the only reason for keeping the lever machines is "they've always been here," then someone should come up with a better reason.

"Cold, dead hands?" Um, whatever.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.


Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

Thank you!

...has 24 comments, most recently from Erik

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine