On December 17th, 2009, the Korean American Voters’ Council (KAVC) attended an Open Workshop showcasing new voting machines in line to be approved by the Board of Elections to become the official voting apparatus to retire out the lever based machines of old.
Two weeks ago, the final two machines from different companies were approved for final inspection by the New York State Board of Elections. This open workshop was organized to let the community try out the machines for themselves and then come to the hearing scheduled on December 29th to make a statement in regards to these machines. The final machine chosen will be mass produced and instituted at poll sites for the 2010 elections.
The two machines in question at this workshop were from the companies ES&S and ImageCast. Both machines use a similar system of paper and pen designation which is fed into a scanner. This data is stored and tallied. Since a system relying on only electronic votes would have issues due to software problems (system wipes, loss of data, corruption of data, data tampering) and no paper trail, the pen and paper system has been kept for a backup and paper trail for manual counts.
KAVC Staff Attorney Chejin Park, Esq. had an exclusive hands-on opportunity trying out both machines in great detail, in both English and Korean translations, plus specific problem situations due to mistakes on the paper, mistakes on the computer, and how to deal with these issues on the spot.
Although both machines were well equipped to deal with problem situations, Mr. Park found that readjustments should be made in both systems in regards to their Korean language service, either in translation accuracy or font size or both.
Considering the limited space on the voting sheet, the Korean translations were very small and would cause obvious problems for those reading the sheet enclosed in the machine with limited lighting. Specific problems regarding the ES&S machine dealt with the machine, scanner, and voice guidance having different Korean translation of the same English word. With the ImageCast, it was worse, with key terms not even translated at all, specifically with the ‘Cast’ button.
KAVC plans to attend the hearing at Dec. 29th and bring up all problems together to testify in the hearing for requesting adjustments for the voters to comfortably vote in the poll site.
[picture: KAVC attorney Chejin Park testing the new voting machine ‘ImageCast’]