The Board of Elections has selected a company to replace the city's iconic — though outdated — voting machines with a process that's more like taking a standardized test than pulling a lever. The Omaha-based company Election Systems and Software won the $50 million contract because board members found its machines easiest to read and use, particularly for immigrants and disabled.

When voters arrive at the polls in September, they'll fill out paper ballots and feed them into a "fax-like scanner," logging a digital count as well as a tangible paper trail. With the decision, New York City becomes one of the last municipalities nationwide to comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which was drafted after the Florida recount. State officials were so slow in starting the program that the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in 2006 threatening to take away the money that had been allocated to updating voting machines.