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Scan, Don’t Skip The Primaries

by Richard Kavesh

‘€œIf you can fill out a lottery card, you can use the new voting machines.’€ That’s what Ann Marie Kelly, Rockland County elections commissioner, says about the new optical ballot scanners that Rockland ‘€“ and New York State — voters will be using starting Primary Day, September 14.

I’m pleased to report that Ann Marie was right. ‘€œThese new scanners are as easy as pie,’€ one voter told me. During Thursday’s demonstration of the new machines at Nyack’s Pilgrim Baptist Church, a steady stream of interested citizens dropped in to be trained. Reverend Willie Hairston was there to welcome them all and most voters liked what they saw. They came, they saw, and they mastered the new machines. Few if any of us will miss the clunky, cranky (but very reliable) mechanical machines that we’ve been using for dozens of years.

The new ‘€œpie’€ that voters will be getting used to is the ES & S intElect DS200 Optical Scanner. As described by Commissioners Kelly and Joan Sylvestri, the DS200 is ‘€œa paper based tabulations system which counts votes cast on paper ballots. Voters fill in ovals to indicate the candidates of their choice and insert the paper ballot through the scanner into a sealed ballot bin.’€

The Commissioners assure us that ‘€œthis is not computerized voting. Once your ballot has been marked, scanned and deposited in the ballot bin, it will be retained by the Board of Elections in the event a re-count is necessary.’€ No hanging chads here in the Empire State.

As someone who still owns a VCR, land-line phone, CRT-based TV, fax machine, and typewriter and who has actually had students laugh at my cell phone, I took some pride that even I was able to get trained in less than 5 minutes.

Here’s a short, but very helpful video to explain the new way to vote.

For more information on the voting process, to volunteer as an election inspector, to find the time and date of the next training session, to find your polling place, etc., you may go to the website of the Rockland County Board of Elections.

But whatever you do, please remember to vote on September 14th. As the Board of Elections says: ‘€œVote, and the choice is yours. Don’t, and the choice is theirs.’€

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