Guest blog: Jonathan Nagler, "My NY City Voting Experience"

Here is a guest blog, from Jonathan Nagler: “My NY City Voting Experience”

My NY City Voting Experience – Approx 9:15AM – 505 LaGuardia Place

1) Get handed the optical scan ballot (about 8.5×14) in a manilla folder to keep it private, and a card (which I think had my voter number on it).

2) Go to a privacy-screen shielded easel to fill it out, with a pen provided, put it back in the manilla folder.

3) Then – where to go? A precinct worker asked for the little card, AND the manilla folder, and escorted me the 2 feet to the voting machine, oriented 180-degrees opposite the little privacy-screened easel where I filled the ballot out. So at this point he is standing over my shoulder, telling me to put the ballot in the machine. I’m trying to read the machine for instructions on whether the ballot is inserted face-up or face-down. All this while the precinct guy is right next to me telling me what to do. I pointed out to him that my ballot wasn’t secret anymore, and he walked away. I put my ballot in _face up_, it got counted – done.

4) I told the ‘highest ranked’ precinct worker I could find that this was a problem. He said the precinct workers shouldn’t be standing there. I told him to watch. [I asked if I could take a photo. A police officer was right there – she said only if I had some press credential or clearance.]

SO: they really do need more space. And, they need a better privacy screen around the actual ballot machine. And, they need to train precinct workers NOT to be in a position where they can read ballots. And, they need machines that clearly say whether the ballot should go in face up or down so people like me don’t stand
there trying to find that info.

Jonathan Nagler is a Professor of Politics at NYU.