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If you are a New Yorker I’m asking for your help. I'm an Upper West Sider working to fix some of the ridiculous voting problems we experienced during the Presidential election. I want to fight back against huge lines, jammed ballot scanners, chaotic poll sites and unqualified poll workers.

As an elected Democratic Party District Leader, I have joined with some of my closest colleagues to try and bring change to our voting procedures. On December 5th the New York City Council’s is holding a hearing to identify ways to reform how we vote. We are going to present this petition at that hearing and advocate for early voting, same-day voter registration, no excuse absentee ballots, and nonpartisan election administration.

If you weren’t happy with your voting experience then please take a minute to sign this petition:


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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm in Brooklyn/Poll Worker (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck, Odysseus

    Already signed but I know people who are really on this.  Don't want to tell you what went on at my polling site, too long but send me a private message.

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:01:15 PM PST

  •  I am a NY poll worker away upstate. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Araguato

    We didn't experience these problems.  I will give credit to the following.

    1. They pay us better in my county than other places, so there is a good reason to want to keep the job.

    2. Our election commissioners put a lot of effort into (paid) training and follow through on suggestions from poll workers.

    3. Our tech people visited the sites to insure smooth traffic flow, accessibility and that the machine was working well.

    We experienced a true tie in a primary, EC's  had to go to court, but everything was done correctly because the EC's care about the process.

     Being a poll worker upstate is probably a piece of cake compared to NYC.  We see the same co-workers repeatedly, we work together at getting done correctly and on time.

    If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

    by weck on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 06:22:59 PM PST

    •  What happened with the tied race? (0+ / 0-)

      I read that in some places ties are decided by a coin flip. How did your town resolve it?

      •  It was an R primary, so the party went with the (0+ / 0-)

        guy they had already endorsed.  The other R was on the conservative line, so he ran there.  They split the R vote and a very good D candidate won the election!

        If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

        by weck on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:21:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I am also an Election Inspector upstate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And we experience none of those issues in our polling place.  Nor would any of the inspectors (of either party) which I work with tolerate shenanigans or chaos in our polling station.

      We do get annual training, especially with the new machines.

      I don't know about the pay issue (our is $150 for the 5:30am to 9:30 pm. day, plus $25 for the training session). I don't accept the stipend as I think it's better to have people who are dedicated to fair voting rather than a system which amounts to a little cash bonus that can be doled out to party insiders. I was an an unenrolled voter when I was first an Inspector, but now I am a registered D.  (I always was there on behalf of the Dems, though, notwithstanding my former status.)

      If anything I would guess that the loyalties of all the Inspectors I work with are very strongly for protecting the fairness, accessability and efficiency of the vote, more than the interests of our respective nominating parties.

      I'm sure that our work is easier than in more populated areas, but the question is why can't the outlook and values that motivate upstate poll workers and their respective BOEs be translated to downstate?

      If lines are too long, more machines are needed. If there's too little tech support for the number of machines, then fix that.

      If there's chaos in the polling station, the Inspectors need to be more proactive and highly cooperative with each other in rearranging tasks, lines, machine and privacy screen placement, etc., sorting the process out.  You have to be ready to do it on the fly as the day's traffic ebbs and flows, with the only  (non-partisan) goals: order within the polling place and convenience for the voters.

      If someone came in and wasn't registered, we used our cell phones to call around to other polling places in our town to see if they were wrongly assigned there.  And with voters not in our book, we offered a provisional ballot, even though they take considerable extra time to explain and process.  Nobody who bothered to show up at my polling place was turned away.  It was emphasized in our training (in my case it happened to be the Rep. EC who did the training that day) it was emphasized that "no you can't vote" was not the preferred solution when a voter believes he is registered.

      I was pleased because I had been reading about R efforts to suppress voting and my own bias is to vote by provisional rather than deny the opportunity to ballot to anyone.  (And I live in blood-red area, even though NY is solidly Blue.) I don't really care who you vote for, but I do want you to come and vote and know that I am  devoted to your right to vote and protecting the integrity of the balloting process.

      (Yes, I do actually examine the zero tape, and look and feel in all the bins for ballots. My signature on the tapes and the reports is not pro forma.)

      What slowed the  lines down in my precinct were all the Fox-brained "Real Americans" insisting that we should look closely at their photo IDs (something not req'd in NY).

      People bring us pastry (home-made or small local shop). Often there are bowls of candy or fruit.  And in my town the Ds & Rs Party committees have a tradition of buying lunch and dinner for the poll workers, brought in from the only food purveyor in the town, a roadside cafe/ gas station. The parties officially cooperate and one does lunch and one dinner on an alternating basis. It's a bipartisan submarine (sandwich with can of soda or iced tea) policy.

      I would support the election reform measures for purpose of broadening access to voting, but I think  that other measures can be put in place to make voting in urban areas as easy as it is upstate. Reform isn't required for efficiency and calm at all polling places: commitment to improving the infrastructure (add'tl machines, tables, etc.) and a positive attitude is what will do that. No reform legislation needed.

      If local BOE can't (or won't) effectively provide that - I'd want to know why?

      How many problems downstate were the result of the disruptions due to Sandy?  And how many due to this being the first Presidential election with state-wide use of the new machines?  We literally offered an explanation of the new machine process to every voter. The Inspector that did this was croaking-hoarse by the end of the day, and it slowed us down a little.  Our wait times were rarely more than 2 to 4 minutes for signing in, and generally less than that for room at the ballot marking booth.  We only have one machine.


      •  I too was hoarse explaining the new paper ballot. (0+ / 0-)

        I finally drew a little picture of how to fill in the oval correctly, and after that, we had only one more spoiled ballot.  

        Our machine jammed once, but it did not require any fixing, only replacing the ballot with one that didn't have a torn edge.  We could have had 10 or 12 people working on their ballots at once, but voting with the machine only takes about 15 seconds each.  

        We had one suspicious voter who took a photo of her ballot with her cell phone and one gentleman who had trouble with physical access to the polling place because his scooter couldn't climb the 3" step.  We got him in and he had no trouble voting. No one tried to force ID on us!

        We had two districts that covered the entire town in the same polling location, but with two sets of poll workers.  One machine was plenty.  I estimate that we had about 1000 voters between the two districts.  

        We are paid more than the sum you mentioned, and it is hard work, so I am glad to have the mini job that being a poll worker is.  Total for the year will always be under the threshold for claiming it for FICA.

        If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. &

        by weck on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:37:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I voted in Greenwich Village (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And had no problems, which was surprising since it was only a week after Sandy. I was in and out in about 20 minutes, although people who had last names from A-L had to wait a little longer. I heard a poll worker explain to someone that they only had one book for the A-L people. Not sure why they would print more copies of one book than the other, but since I had class right afterwards, I was glad to be an R.

    I am really glad you are calling attention to this though. NY doesn't get much attention because we are not a swing state, but that doesn't mean the right to vote is any less important here.

    Are you aware of any instances of former prisoners having trouble voting in NYC? Under state law felons get their voting rights back after they have served their time, but there is some confusion about it and corrections officers don't do what they are supposed to do with regard to making people aware of their rights. I am putting together a project proposal on this issue, so if you have any info on it I would love if you could share.

    •  The answer to the A-L book question (0+ / 0-)

      There aren't more copies of one book than the other.  There is only one of each.

      I think the alphabetic division (A-L) is standardized through out the state.  It would interesting to know  why that was chosen (L is 12th letter).  Perhaps X,Y,Z , have so few names they were lumped together.  Changing or varying ethnicly- assorted last names might result in a different dividing point.

      It may happen that one book has many more names than the other, or a particular worker is a bit slower in finding the name, turning the book back around to face the voter, and actually looking at the signature and apparent age and sex of the voter as recorded in the voting register.  A few extra seconds, repeated for everyone add up.


    •  Re former inmates voting (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe it's Probation Officers that need to be set straight as they have post-release contact with ex-inmates. And theoretically an interest in reintegration within the community.


  •  No problems (0+ / 0-)

    in my precinct, but that seems to have always been the case.  Of course, areas that were heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy had plenty of problems....

    Once gripe: yes we fill out paper ballots in our precincts, which is great, but they are then fed to an optical scanner, and there is absolutely no indication on that machine as to whether or not it actually counted your votes correctly--there is no way for a voter to tell on the spot.  Given the large errors that were found with similar optical scanners in other NYC precincts in previous elections, I would much prefer that our paper ballots be hand counted and the results for each precinct posted publicly at the precinct.

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