Bloomberg Rips New Voting Machines for Lack of Privacy

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -

Outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg strongly criticized the city’s new voting process, saying “the days of the secret ballot are over.”

Bloomberg fumed that the city’s new $95 million voting system allows poll workers to sneak a peek at a voter’s ballot. He said a Board of Elections worker glanced at his sheet when he placed it in the optical-scan machine at a Manhattan polling site Nov. 5.

“It is a disgrace,” Bloomberg said at an unrelated press conference on Tuesday. “Everybody should understand when they vote, everybody’s gonna know who they voted for because there’s somebody watching you. And why we tolerate that I have no idea.”

Board of Elections President Michael Ryan said he was “concerned by an issue raised by any voter.”

“It’s something that we will take seriously,” Ryan told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “We will look into it going forward.”

Several readers have contacted Hamodia with the same complaint, that election workers have looked at their ballots. This was especially egregious in last week’s vote, when options were printed on both sides of the ballot.

The new voting process requires a voter to fill out a paper ballot at a standup desk and then take it over to a machine, where it is inserted face-up to be scanned.

“You then go and stick it into the scanner, where in my case there was someone watching to see who I voted for and everybody I know says exactly the same thing,” Bloomberg said.

The standup desks have partitions to create some privacy and poll workers are supposed to give voters folders to hide their ballots when they walk to the scanners.

Ryan suggested that voters should slide the ballot from the folder directly into the scanner, which he believes would prevent anyone from seeing it. He also recommended that any voter with a concern register a complaint with one of the board’s call centers.

The optical scanner machines were introduced in 2010 but experienced frequent breakdowns and long delays two years later. The old lever machines were trotted out of retirement for primary day this year but the optic scanners were brought back for the general election.

Bloomberg, a frequent critic of the Board of Elections, would not reveal if he voted for Bill de Blasio or Joe Lhota on Election Day. De Blasio won in a historic landslide and will succeed Bloomberg at City Hall on Jan. 1.