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Tuesday, November 2

Poll inspectors: Job was a tough sell this election because of new machines

A couple poll inspectors in Saratoga Springs told me that the job, which pays about $175 for the day, was a tough sell this year because some past inspectors were wary of the new, electronic voting machines.

"There were 20 people that the Board of Elections had said couldn't come (work) this year because they didn't want to use the new machines," said Sheila Arpei, a poll inspector at Division Street Elementary School who's done the job for four years.

Deputy Commissioner of Elections Kathleen Anderson said she couldn't verify Arpei's statements.

"I have no idea. That's her opinion," she said. "We have inspectors retire every year. I don't know why they retire."

I'm waiting for a call back from an elections commissioner who can provide more information.

Chris Alexander, an inspector at the Lincoln Baths polling site, said she decided to work the 17-hour shift this year because she'd heard the Board of Elections was having trouble getting enough volunteers.

"Change is always hard," she said. "Like all changes, it can be scary. This is my first year as a volunteer and I did it specifically because I feel very comfortable with computers."

Voters also complained today about missing the lever machines, Alexander said, but "once people (use) the machines once, they're fine with it."

Other poll inspectors interviewed said the new ballots posed a challenge for some older folks whose hands shook while writing or because the font was too small for them to read.

"It's a little tough for them," said Linda LeTendre, who is working at Division Street Elementary School.

Another minor hangup was that the machines won't read a write-in ballot unless the voter has written very firmly, Alexander said.

"You have to write really dark and press hard," she said.

The machine will spit out the ballot if voters don't follow directions, so there's little risk of a botched vote.

"It's fairly easy," said Anthony Fiorino, a Saratoga Springs resident who cast his votes using the new system for the first time this afternoon. "It's just different."


Blogger demroc said...

yeah, when i was there, an older gentleman had trouble getting the circles dark enough, for the machine to read.

funny, my word verification is downer, which is how i felt for the guy.

November 2, 2010 at 6:09 PM 

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