NY Daily News: David Storobin and Lew Fidler Should Get a Complete Count


storobin-fidler1Lew Fidler and David Storobin should ask to see the images of all the ballots that the scanning machines read.

The two candidates for a Brooklyn state Senate seat came through Election Night separated by a razor-thin margin in votes cast on electronic scanning machines, forcing a count of absentee ballots filed on paper.

There’s more to do than that.

Republican David Storobin and Democrat Lew Fidler should insist that the city Board of Elections tally every vote – using a single method.

Contrary to all fairness and equality – not to mention common sense – the board’s standard operating procedure uses differing approaches for determining whether a vote is validly cast.

When a voter fills in an oval beside a candidate’s name, the vote will be counted either by a scanner, assuming the machine works correctly, or by the board as workers inspect absentee ballots.

When a voter leaves an oval blank, but, say, circles a candidate’s name, the vote won’t be counted by a scanner – but will be counted if the board finds such a marking on an absentee ballot.

This probably happened in the Storobin-Fidler battle. The scanner tally lists 42 ballots on which voters filled in no choice – unlikely, as those people were dedicated enough to go to the polls to make a choice in the only race on the ballot.

Odds are they made a selection without filling in an oval. Their votes are, for now, lost, while similarly cast absentee ballots will be included. In such a supertight race, 42 ballots could be decisive.

The board will inspect all the paper ballots only if the margin ends up below .5%. With a total tally of about 21,000, that comes out to roughly anything more than 105 votes. Now, the preliminary margin is 118 votes. At that level, there would be no visual ballot inspection without a court order.

This is insanity.

The bumblers at the Board of Elections are not to be trusted to make such fine distinctions. On Election Night, they came up with tentative results by adding up votes for each candidate by hand after cutting the paper receipts from the scanners into little piles of scraps. They came in 82 votes over for Storobin and 80 votes over for Fidler compared with a later computer tally.

Storobin and Fidler can safeguard the accuracy of the count – and set an invaluable precedent for New York – by demanding to see, under the state Freedom of Information Law, photographs of ballots that the scanners record with each vote.

The Daily News used the law recently to review ballots cast at a Bronx polling place whose returns defied possibility. Our inspection found a haywire scanner had miscounted hundreds of votes.

Storobin and Fidler should file the request now to search out the missing votes even as the board labors though the absentee ballots.

Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the state Board of Elections, wants such images posted on the Internet for every election. It’s a great idea, and it should get a boost from this race. The campaigns have nothing to lose and perhaps a seat to win.

{NY Daily News/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. voting in america is now a scam . remember the old machines that you pulled a lever? know why they got rid of them? cause they worked and were too hard to play with