A New York Times editorial set to print on Tuesday highlights a ridiculous truth: unlike the rest of New York State, New York City still counts its ballots by hand. And not very well.
According to the editorial, which is frankly titled "Why Can't New York City Count Votes?" :
On June 26, the board announced that Representative Charles Rangel had won the Democratic primary in his newly drawn district by 1,900 votes. But, in 79 of 506 precincts, the vote count was recorded as zero. Then the board recounted, and Mr. Rangel led his nearest competitor, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, by 802 votes — with 2,000 absentee ballots or affidavits still to be counted.
In 2010, board officials “found” almost 200,000 votes a few weeks after the midterm election.
As other counties use computers for counting, the "if you can make it here" city uses a tedious process, explained in all its tedious glory in The Times. The editorial blames the lack of change on "New York City’s patrontage-addled Board of Elections and its staff," who "seem more interested in protecting their jobs than avoiding errors."
To be fair, we'd be doing the same thing if our job was to count election ballots. But still. New York City. Home of the everything. And the everything bagel. A rising star in the tech world, much to the chagrin of Silicon Valley. A city where you can email your boss from a subway platform. A city of 8.2 million people, where you can have a red velvet cupcake delivered to your door at 3 a.m. and pass three thousand humans (and maybe one or two dogs) staring into their iPhones on your morning jog.
Just don't expect to have your vote to be counted efficiently or correctly because we haven't switched to computers yet.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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