The Suffolk Report:
Those new optical scan voting machines that drew a lot of criticism in some quarters actually worked pretty well during the September primary, according to a highly anecdotal state report.
The report by the state Board of Elections was posted on its website in the late October, the agency said, but has drawn little attention.
Several board officials visited polling sites at 16 counties around state on Primary Day, including both Nassau and Suffolk, and wrote up very chatty summaries of what they found.
Here’s some highlights from board officials Phil Jorczak and Tarry Breads:
Suffolk County Board of Elections.
“The facility itself is very large and accommodating with lots of lighting (both natural and fluorescent). Space allows for setup of machines and for associated tasks to be performed in an uninhibited manner. Several police officers were at the site at the time of my visit. Badge usage and sign in ledgers were also used.
Issues encountered in pre-election ... include: Concerns with the number of ballot styles system can handle (apparently county has met this threshold). Random failures outside scope of pre-election testing: ibuttons and ibutton readers, battery failures. Issue with test deck method, opening and closing polls several times, the daunting amount of work and the small time frame in which to complete it. EMS tape not producing row/column designations 1a, 1b, 1c makes canvassing results difficult.
Yaphank Firehouse — 31 Main Street, Yaphank NY
Poll site coordinator reports no issues with opening of polls — opening was on time. The inspectors appear to be well versed in their specific duties and were very accommodating.
Seal forms were properly used at this site with no issues.
Systems booted up on time with no issues.
Voter reception and comfort level high as reported by poll site coordinator although turnout was quite low. At noontime, 40 voters total showed up, split between the two precincts.
The site had plenty of space, light and parking. This poll site had more than enough privacy booths (about 1 dozen).
The voters required minimal assistance, and when assistance was required it was for proper marking procedure.
Longwood Middle School — 198 Longwood Road, Middle Island, NY
“Poll site coordinator Erna Rowe reports no issues with poll site opening although she found paperwork a bit daunting. Coordinator very satisfied with the level of training received. Proper seal forms usage was observed.
The machines booted up without a hitch.
The general reception by the voters was positive.
The site is a small gymnasium with adequate space although lighting left a bit to be desired. Parking allowed for more than adequate space although signage to poll location was a bit confusing.
50 voters had voted at the location as of 1:30 p.m. split among the four precincts
This site like the other poll location I visited had more than an adequate number of privacy booths (about 12).
Assistance required by the voters was minimal, if any. There was a voter at the site at the time of my visit, who indicated they had a favorable experience with the process.”
[NOTE: The state Board of Elections requires localities to purchase the new voting machines only from state-approved firms, prompting some critics to claim the agency has a potential bias in favor of its own approval process.\
[NOTE 2: See the whole report here. It is a pdf file and takes time to load. The first page is blank so scroll down to see the text after the download is complete.\]