NYC Election Day Ridiculousness

Before I moved to sunny Los Angeles, I used to look forward to Election Day; getting in that private booth and flicking those little levers for my candidates of choice. Now, casting my vote is far less satisfying and if today was any indication, far less efficient. Another example of change in New York for the worse.

Remember those old voting machines? If not, they looked like this:


I’m not sure when they went away, but they have been replaced by these:


Much less inviting and much less enticing. Back then, you would get into the booth and pull a huge lever to close the curtain. You would flip little switches for each candidate, and then pull the lever back to cast the vote and open the curtain, with a powerful “swoosh” to tell the world that you had just taken part in the democratic process.

Now, you get a long piece of paper (with an unnecessary long folder) and go to one of those kiosks and fill in a little bubble with a pen, like you are taking a standardized test.

Then things get interesting, at least today they did.

The ballot has to be scanned into a machine, and at my polling place in lovely Washington Heights, there was a line snaking around the room to get to the scanner. Why such a long line? Well, there was one scanner. One For the entire precinct.

I put my crack investigative skills to use (I asked someone) and it seems there were two scanners, but one broke. And it was only 9am, just three hours after the polls open. What will happen when the other scanner breaks down, which it eventually will?

There were a dozen or so of the old voting machines at every precinct, each one capable of tabulating your votes. That’s much better than one.

Now, I understand those voting machines were old and breaking down; they needed to be replaced. But this is not a proper alternative. You need a multitude of scanners at every precinct to make the system work; one or even two will not cut it.

It is 2016 — we should have electronic voting. I know it exists in some places around the country. But we are in New York, allegedly the capital of the world. Shouldn’t everything we have be top-notch? As we know, that is hardly the case. Just look at our subway system. And our crumpling infrastructure. And our elected officials. Everything second and third-rate. So why should we expect anything different from our voting system?

Sigh. I hate this city.