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Broome County Still Has Two Lever Voting Machines

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Thousands of bulky, old lever voting machines were put into use in New York City on this Primary Day because of lingering concerns over the new electronic voting devices.

State lawmakers gave special approval for the city to utilize the traditional machines one more time after problems occurred at some polling places last year.

A return to the old-style machines is no longer an option in Broome County.

Board of Elections deputy commissioner Karen Davis says after the state advised counties they no longer needed to keep the traditional machines, the lever-style devices were taken to a recycling facility.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Davis said the county did set aside a couple of older voting machines.

One of them dates back to the early 1900s. Davis said that machine is all cast iron and weighs about 1200 pounds and “takes six men to set it up.”

Davis said one of the “more modern” machines also was kept for historic purposes.

The new optical scanner machines now in use read paper ballots. Davis said they’re much easier to transport than the big and “clunky” old machines. She said two of the new units can be loaded into a van while one of the older units wouldn’t fit in the vehicle.

Although voters seem to have adapted to the electronic machines, Davis said many still seem to miss the traditional voting booths with the sounds of the curtain closing and the levers being moved to select candidates.

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