Election Day will be the first time we cast our ballots on new state-of-the-art electronic voting machines replacing the lever operated mechanical marvels from a bygone era.
Voters in New York will now fill out ovals on a paper ballot, feed the ballot into a scanning machine and drop in into a locked box.
Remember your SAT tests? Do I need to bring two sharp number two pencils with me? New York is the last state to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, enacted to protect us from another 2000 presidential election "hanging chad" type nightmare.
Nationwide each local election district is now wired to big brother or as I call him the “Great Oz.” But alas, like the movie the wonderful wizard was only human and made mistakes too.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University is suing the New York State Board of Elections claiming voters who are minorities or non-native English speakers would lose their votes in disproportionate numbers. The lawsuit left out the obvious – the technically-challenged voter or poll worker.
The problem with the new electronic marvels revolves around voters who accidentally pick too many candidates for a particular race, an error known as “over voting," which invalidates the incorrect part of their ballot.
When the technically-challenged voter submits such a ballot, the new tech marvels do not automatically return it to be corrected and recast. Instead, the new SAT type ballots are programmed to start beeping and to offer a choice on their digital touch screens: a green button for voters to confirm their choices or a red button to scrap their votes and start over.
The electronic voting marvels tell people they have “over voted,” but do not explain what over voting is, or its consequences. The old mechanical lever marvels prevented over voting by locking themselves up if a voter flipped too many switches for various candidates.
Thanks and good luck to the Brennan Center for making me an electronic voting machine tech “OZ” wizard. I still miss my decades old metal mechanical voting machine marvel. If I could push one into my polling site this Election Day, I would.
Finally, the six week door-to-door canvass of obtaining registered voters signatures for candidates designating petitions to put them on the Election Ballot is now over. This was one of the toughest years in obtaining voters’ signatures. On doctor’s orders, I stayed in coordinating a massive old fashion grass roots petition drive with great results.
Michael N. Niebauer is President/CEO of Spindoctor Inc. media & advocacy company, founder of the ballot Column "C" Independence Party of Queens County Organization QPTV Producer “The Independent” popular WT, RCN, Vios live cable TV talk show.