Voting machine problem in Battery Park City

voting machine, photo-1
One of the voting machines being used in today’s primary. Downtown Express file photo by Tequila Minsky.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SEPT. 10, 2013  |  BY JOSH ROGERS  | A voting machine at P.S. 89 in Battery Park City was not working this morning, a development which might delay the results in the City Council and district leader races.

“It was chaos,” said Jeff Galloway, a designated poll watcher for one of the campaigns and the chairperson of Community Board 1’s B.P.C. Committee.

Both he and Alan Gerson, the former City Councilmember, said the problem, confirmed by others as well, was corrected at about 8 a.m.

The pair said in addition to the voting machine problem, the paper ballot, did not have the district leader’s race between incumbent Jenifer Rajkumar and Robin Forst, or a county committee race.

Rajkumar is also running for City Council against incumbent Margaret Chin.

Gerson and Galloway said poll workers were incorrectly giving voters affidavit ballots instead of the emergency paper ballots, which are supposed to be counted as soon as the polls close at 9 p.m. Gerson said he was told by poll workers that those early morning affidavit ballots for that machine will be counted tonight instead of waiting a week or so.

Galloway said the broken machine was for Gateway Plaza voters like him who live in Election District 16, which is the only district in Assembly District 65 that votes at P.S. 89.

Galloway said that having only “one renegade” district from the A.D. led to much of the confusion, which Gerson helped clear up.

“They never would have found [the correct paper ballots] but for the fact that Alan was there,” he said.

The incorrect county committee ballots could become significant if State Sen. Daniel Squadron wins his race for Public Advocate, because the committee will in all likelihood select his successor.

Galloway said turnout at the site seemed light, and Gerson thought there were  maybe only “a dozen or so” ballots that will have to be counted by hand as a result.

For his part, Gerson said it was a relatively minor problem. He thinks voting machines are still far superior to the electronic scanning system the Board of Elections have used in the last few elections. That system was scrapped this year, because the scanners and ballots would not have been ready for the expected Oct. 1 runoff election in the mayor and public advocate races.

“The voting process is so much more orderly and more private than the scanner machines that were used in the last election,” Gerson said.


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