Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why Primary Results Take So Long to Tally in New York City Elections

You might think that with the new electronic voting machines, New York City would be able to tally the votes quickly to provide preliminary results on election night, but this is not the case.

In spite of the new voting machines, it appears that there is a large manual component to the vote tally. We found this election night tally procedure on the Board of Elections website.

Here's the procedure:

- After the polls close, more than 30,000 poll workers transcribe, by hand, the number of votes for each candidate from the face of the voting machines onto Return of Canvass forms.


- These poll workers then hand the Return of Canvass sheets to the NYPD Officer assigned to that polling location. (Poll watchers may observe.)

- The NYPD Officer hand-delivers the Return of Canvass sheets to his or her police precinct to be transcribed by hand into its computer system by civilian employees of the NYPD.


- Once all the data is entered, the computer records are transmitted to the Associated Press. A copy of each Return of Canvass form is delivered by hand to APs office at 55 Washington Street in Brooklyn.


 - The Associated Press then shares the preliminary results with its colleagues in the news media. These preliminary results, however, do not include thousands of absentee, affidavit, and military ballots, which must be counted by hand later.

And that's how the preliminary results are tallied with our new, electronic voting machines!

Top illustration courtesy of Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
Middle illustration courtesy of Waltdatedworld

Bottom illustration by Paulo Henrique Rodrigues, Creative Commons license.

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2 comments:

Christopher said...

also info transmitted by NYPD to NYC Board of Elections, who have a computer system which crashed last night around 1am

Anonymous said...

Even better.