Rona Beame


To the Commissioners of the Board of Elections in the City of New York:


If Maryland, California and New Mexico want to scrap over $100 million dollars worth of electronic voting machines because the machines proved to be a disaster, why would New York consider buying similar machines?


I was a standby poll worker in the recent primary elections and saw that many of the poll workers were ill trained. At 2 PM the woman in charge of my table suddenly groaned and said, "I forgot to take off the numbers when I opened the machine this morning."


Starting at 3 PM the coordinator at my polling district announced several times, "Donít ask me if you have problems closing your machines. Thatís your responsibility, not mine. Look at your books."


Lever machines are easy. Touch screen electronic machines are not. I can imagine the chaos if election workers do not receive a lot more training than they did this year.


I urge you to select paper ballots and optical scanners to replace the lever machines. Optical scanner systems will cost much less, are simpler to use, easier and cheaper to maintain, need much less warehouse space between elections and most important, if the scanners fail we still have the paper ballots. I would like to suggest however that we should do a random check of more than 3% of the paper ballots.


Thank you for your consideration of my views.