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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • New voting machines slow results

  • The new electronic voting machines used in Tuesday’s statewide primaries created delays that local elections officials say they’ll try to correct before the November general election.

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  • The new electronic voting machines used in Tuesday’s statewide primaries created delays that local elections officials say they’ll try to correct before the November general election.
    Processing election results took longer than usual in Steuben County, many of them not posted until after midnight with the full results not recorded on the Board of Elections’ website until Wednesday afternoon.
    “There might be a way to see if there are ways to speed things up,” Steuben County Republican Elections Commissioner Veronica Olin said Wednesday afternoon. “We’re communicating back to the (scanner) company now to see if that is possible.… We need to take a little more time to be sure everything is done is correctly.”
    In Cohocton, one machine broke down and poll workers handed voters emergency ballots. The ballots were deposited in a tamper-proof box and scanned in after the machine was fixed two hours later, Olin said.
    “Overall, I think it went very well,” she said.
    Steuben County was one of the few in the state to use the new voting machines in the last November election. While there were glitches here, the new voting method which replaced the old lever voting booths created problems in many places throughout the state.
    In Chemung County, a mismatch between the software designed to read the memory cards and the county’s system forced election officials there to manually enter all the results from the county’s 86 election districts, according to WETM-TV.
    According to the Associated Press, flustered poll workers and machine breakdowns resulted in long lines at several voting sites across the state.
    Delays in posting results in Steuben County was partly caused by a new policy of having deputies retrieve voting information from each precinct and then driving it to the board of elections office in Bath. Memory cards containing the results are then downloaded, a process that provided more accuracy but takes longer than what was involved with the old machines.
    “This is a learning curve for everybody,” Olin said.
    Privacy also is a concern for officials. There have been numerous complaints the privacy shields set up for voters’ use when marking ballots were ineffective.
    The commissioners said the solution to the privacy issue is costly, and the elections board has a limited budget.
    “We have to look at where the taxpayers’ money is going,” Olin said.

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