The New York City Board of Elections just finished recounting our votes from the Nov. 2 election, and "found" the nearly 200,000 ballots that they didn't know were missing, reports the Times. That's about 17 percent of the total votes cast, which translates to 1 vote left uncounted out of every 6. And if you voted in Queens, there was a 1 in 3 chance the the ballot wasn't counted, with a whopping 80,000 uncounted ballots found in the borough alone. Though the city spent millions to introduce the new optical scan voting machines (as required by law) this year, it turns out all the trappings of modern technology disappeared right after voters left.
Once polls closed, the machines spat out a "supermarketlike receipt" that poll workers cut into strips and sorted by district. They then use a calculator to tally the votes for each candidate and write out the results by hand. The hand written "return of canvass" form is handed to a cop, taken to a local precinct, and entered into a computer. “After a 16-hour day, there’s room for error,” Valerie Vazquez, a spokeswoman for the board, told the Times. We count more places for the fungus of human error to bloom than between William Howard Taft's rolls.
The thousands of election workers that sign up for $200 a day to handle the fate of our nation are required to attend a training class (as if that makes the potential for accidentally pressing the minus button on a calculator instead of the plus any less likely). But the gap between 'required' and 'completed' is a wide one, as one election coordinator told us in September. "Myself and another person became coordinators with no training whatsoever on how to operate the machines. We were left to make it up as we go along!" Who's Line Is It Anyway has since incorporated voting machines into their audience participation segments.
This latest ineptitude comes after the September 14th primary that Bloomberg deemed a "royal screw up" of a 3% rate of votes uncounted, now dwarfed by the rate in the actual election. So who will the Board of Elections fire this time?