Problems with New York's new electronic voting system are being reported across the state today, according to the New York Times. Today's primary elections mark the first statewide use of the new, paper-based optical-scan systems which have been been the cause of much controversy among election officials and Election Integrity advocates over the last several months and years in the Empire State.
New York is the last state in the union to replace their older election system --- much of the state, as well as all of New York City had previously used mechanical lever machines --- with new-fangled, failure-prone, easily-manipulated computerized systems following the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 which was enacted in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election debacle.
In New York City, where Wall Street Journal reports the problems are "most severe" --- including reports from Mayor Bloomberg on "reports of broken and missing scanners, poor customer service and poll sites opening two to four hours late" --- the new systems are made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine company, and one with a storied history of election failures.
The systems used in other parts of the state are largely manufactured by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting, formerly as a partnership with Sequoia Voting Systems. Dominion eventually bought out cash-strapped Sequoia's portion of the NY state deal before buying out Sequoia entirely earlier this year. The purchase of Sequoia, then the nation's third-largest e-voting firm, on the heels of their purchase of Diebold/Premiere just weeks prior, has vaulted Dominion, virtually overnight, to one of the largest e-voting vendors in the U.S..
[Read The BRAD BLOG's recent exclusive on the Dominion purchase of Sequoia, and their attempts to cover up the continuing relationship that Sequoia has with a Venezuelan firm tied to President Hugo Chavez.]
Some state election officials and Election Integrity advocates alike had long-warned against the implementation of these new systems, going so far as to take the issue to court and to testify to the inability of certifying the accuracy of elections run on the new machines.
According to the Times this morning, some polling places "did not open for more than 90 minutes" in Brooklyn; elsewhere, every ballot scanned "was returning a the 'system error'" message; and across the state, there have been reports of "longer-than-usual delays and troubles with the scanners that are supposed to swallow and tabulate the new, SAT-style ballots"...