Board of Elections Picks New Voting Machines; Scanners Go In This September

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The Board of Elections has finally picked a supplier for new, state-of-the-art voting machines for New York City: Elections Systems and Software of Omaha.

Our own Julie Bolcer reviewed their machine and those of competitors last Februrary. ES&S makes paper ballot optical scan (PBOS) machines, which both scan paper ballots marked by the voter and collect the originals in case hanky-panky is suspected. They're considered safer and less suspicious than touch-screen machines and the like.

ES&S received six votes; one commissioner went for Toronto's Dominion Voting. An early competitor, Sequoia Voting Systems, was not in the running, perhaps because their machines were seen to perform very badly in New York state elections.

New York has been notoriously slow to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, meant to modernize voting systems nationwide; though many people remain nervous about the new machines, the delays in this case have been probably been more bureaucratic in nature than principled.

The new machines are expected to be in use by the September 2010 primaries.

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