Political Machine

Posted: May 23, 2002

THERE WERE glitches, but the rollout on Election Day of the $20 million in new voting machines in Philadelphia went very well.

Despite warnings from alarmists, voters had little problem using the 3,400 electronic machines, which were easier to set up and easier to understand than previous voting machines. This may be in some part due to the voting machine road show that over the past few months introduced the new machines to approximately 29,000 Philadelphians at 500 community locations.

Credit City Commissioner Marge Tartaglione, voting activist Fred Voigt and others for choosing the machines and then organizing the rollout.

But the transformation of the voting process in Philadelphia really took place after the polls closed.

With the old machines, poll workers had to call out numbers to other poll workers who wrote them down on big sheets of paper - so-called "flash returns" that could take more than an hour and multiplied the possibility of errors. The new machines popped out results to central computers that recorded the votes in far less time, and with unprecedented accuracy.

And without a hanging chad in sight. *

|
|
|
|
|