What's the new sound of voting?

DS200 voting machineTuesday's primary election will mark an important moment for many New York voters -- the sound of democracy will no longer be "ka-CHUNK!"

Out are the old lever voting machines, and in are the new optical-scan voting machines, which work like a scantron machine (see, all those standardized tests you took are finally paying off).

There will be two different systems in use in the Capital Region. Albany and Schenectady counties are using the "DS200," which looks like a scanner perched on a garbage bin (state board of elections how-to video). Saratoga and Rensselaer counties are using the "ImageCast," which looks like a ballot-eating microfilm projector (how-to video). In both cases, you mark a paper ballot at a stand and then take the ballot (don't forget your privacy sleeve) to the scanner and feed it in. If all checks out, you hit the vote button.

Optical-scan machines are said to have a lot of advantages over the old lever machines. They provide instant feedback when a ballot's cast (including whether there's an error). And there's a paper trail to check against the electronic count. They're also supposed to be more accessible to people with disabilities.

Downside: you have to supply your own "ka-CHUNK!" when casting your ballot.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Farewell, lever voting machine
+ New life for lever voting machines?

image via NYS Board of Elections

Comments

There's something creepy about the "privacy sleeve". I don't know why, but I hate it.

What a giant step backward in technology. Speaking as a software engineer, scantron is just wrong-headed: it makes people bend to the needs of old technology rather than having technology adapt to people's needs. It shouldn't be used in education and certainly shouldn't be used in elections. And don't get me started on how easy it is for an electronic voting machine to be buggy, let alone rigged. Bring back the levers!

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