By HEATHER NELLIS
For the Express
Tuesday was the first election Montgomery County used the new optical scan voting machines, mandated by both the federal government and New York. Fulton County’s board offered a test run at three districts in the 2009 primary and used the machines at all voting sites the following general election.
That election was a rocky one, as results from four municipalities weren’t announced days after the vote because of malfunctioning software. It resulted in two lawsuits, but they were ruled in the county board’s favor.
Montgomery County Election Commissioner Jamie M. Duchessi said there were no major problems with the machines Tuesday, and there were less problems than he anticipated.
“All votes were counted, and there were no breakdowns. I think voters generally had an easy time with the new procedure.”
Fulton County election Commissioner John Schermerhorn offered the same success, but noted the board continues to have problems hosting elections at local schools, urging local leaders to consider moving the sites.
Schermerhorn said there was an issue at Broadalbin-Perth Central School District, as the polling site was moved from the front of the district’s high school entrance to the back of the school near the gymnasium.
“That’s where the school put us,” said Schermerhorn. “We sent more signage to let people know when we found out, but there was a lot of confusion.”
B-P Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said the move, though he complied, wasn’t at his discretion, rather it was done at the request of Broadalbin town Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo, who did not return a call seeking comment.
Schermerhorn admitted the snafu could have affected turnout if voters weren’t aware of where the site was moved, “but I’m concerned about voter turnout, period.”
The commissioner said there were also space problems at Boulevard School in Gloversville, noting the site was located inside of the principal’s office.
“There just wasn’t enough room in there,” he said. “This is why we have a concerted effort to get the sites out of the schools. There are a lot of distractions for voters, and a lot of security issues for the schools. It’s not the school’s fault, their concerns are legitimate, but we are put in a position where we have to find a place outside of the school.
Schermerhorn said the board was successful at moving one site this year — Johnstown voters casting their ballots at the Knox Junior High School instead went to a church.