With $6,000 Voting Kiosks, Why Not $300 iPads?

NEW YORK -

When New York City’s much-maligned Board of Elections unveiled its new voting machines on Thursday, City Council members found ways to malign it further.

At $6,000 each, purchasing the new machines, which look like the old lever-controlled voting booths but operate electronically, could cost $15 million, the board’s deputy executive director, Dawn Sandow, told the council, the Daily News reported.

Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens) promptly took out his $299 iPad.

“Is that really better than this?” he asked.

No, Sandow was forced to admit. The Apple device could do the job better — at 5 percent of the price. But they just don’t trust their own employees.

“Something as small as that, they won’t all come back, no matter what we chain it to,” Sandow said.

The new voting machines would turn into information kiosks, which would allow users to look up a voter’s election district or poll site and would check in poll workers when they arrive for work.

It would also be used to speed up the vote count. Currently, memory sticks from the city’s new electronic voting machines, first introduced last year, are taken to police precincts, where the data is uploaded into computers. Now, the sticks could simply be inserted into a kiosk to collect the data.

No money has been budgeted for the kiosks. Board officials want to create 100 of them and test their use, with the goal of placing two of them at each of the city’s 1,300 polling sites.