Voting Machines

The Corning Leader documents the use of new voting machines in Steuben County. Steuben's machines were used for the first time in Tuesday's election.

Steuben is apparently one of the few counties in the 29th using the new technology. According to the Leader, Chemung County used lever machines. When I voted yesterday in Monroe County, I used the same lever machine technology that's been in use for 50 years.

The Leader reports on the usual screw-ups that accompany any roll-out of new technology. Tallies on the Steuben County website are wrong. A breakdown at one polling station required the use of a plan B that involves paper ballots.

Since turnout on Tuesday was a fraction of what it will be a year from now, I hope Chemung and Monroe aren't going to use that election as the first test of their new machines.


I worked for the Yates County Board of Elections as a Poll Site Coordinator. I was in charged of four districts at 3 locations. We had one (new) machine at each location. One of my machines went down at 7:30 (after 6 votes) and we could not get it running again. We could have had someone from the 'Company' provide us with a new file, but the state would not allow it since the election was in progress. 3 other machines in the county went down. All votes were recorded on an 'emergency' ballot, which means that they had to be counted by hand. Since there were real competition in many races this year we had a larger than normal turn out for an off year election. There were over 200 votes in at least 2 of the districts that had to be counted by hand.

What this shows is that the system worked. In the old machines you were never really sure if the votes were counted or not. Studies have shown that votes ending with "99" end up at a greater rate than expected on the lever machines. When we get the bugs out of the machines, the public will be able to get the election data quickly and accurately.


Fascinating. Thank you, 'Stew.'