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Letter: Some voters would like old lever machines back

Some voters would like old lever machines back

After another low Primary Day election turnout, some people have raised the issue of extending voting over several days instead of just one in an effort to combat voter apathy.

As an election inspector who helps people cast their vote, I can attest to the fact that if there were a huge increase in voter turnout, the voting process would crawl to a halt.

During the presidential elections of Barack Obama, I noticed a marked increase in people who had seldom voted before and therefore had to be schooled on how to use the new voting machines. The result was longer lines. Many people still to this day comment that they miss the old lever voting machines, where pulling down a lever seemed to confer, and confirm, a sense of participation. Our current system of marking a ballot resembles marking a lottery slip.

In this day and age of consumer convenience, people desire one central point to do all the steps necessary to vote. The old lever voting machines offered such a central point of convenience as voters could pull the lever down to select their candidate and then register their vote when they opened the curtain with the handle.

All the mechanical sounds that emanated from the old voting machines, from the click of the lever and the clang of the curtain opening, reassured voters that their vote had indeed been registered and counted.

In addition, Western New York is increasingly becoming an older population and having a voting process that requires minimal walking would encourage many people to vote despite the reduction in a person’s mobility.

Matthew R. Powenski


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