Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bring Back the Lever Voting Machines!

It is surely a sign of our time that New York City's election officials are considering bringing out of storage the old lever voting machines for use in the city's September mayoral primary. The reason is that the new electronic scanner machines apparently take so long to count and to prepare for a runoff if one should be needed. The lever voting machines were first developed in the 1890s. The city's current stock of them dates from the 1960s. So that make sthme "old" - and hence suspect to today's post-modern tastes. so some are predictably upset about this. Today's New York Times describes the conflict in all its  absurdity:
I have fond memories of watching my parents vote in the 1950s on those wonderful old machines and then using them myself when I started voting after I turned 21 in 1969. Whenever I have voted elsewhere with other technology, I have always wistfully remembered and missed the solemn solidity of those old lever machines. Sadly, in this as in so many other matters, progress cannot be stopped. In this case, progress has also cost the city some $95 million. (To his credit, the mayor has been a frequent citric of the new voting machiens).

I can sympathize with the argument that. having spent so much money on new voting technology, the voters deserve for it to work at least as well as the older machines, and certainly should not have to bring back the old machines because of defects int he new system. but what should one make of a complaint like that of the executive director of Citizens Union, quoted in today's Times as saying: "It's absurd that in a 21st-century New York, we would go back and vote on machines first used in the 19th century..."?

Imagine that!

Imagine using something old (and better), when something new (and slower and more expensive) is available! 

1 comment:

  1. Deep sigh from here. I loved those old things! Like you, I felt so important when I could finally enter... I was 21, about to turn 22 in a week, it was 1979.

    I moved from NY to LA in 1998 and was surprised to find booths without curtains, and the poke-a-hole thing that caused hanging chads in FL in 2000. I was so disappointed. I did move back to NY in 2000, so I had my levers back by then!

    And the new machines, if my mama were here, she'd say in her best Bronx accent, "These stink!"