In the next two years, the New York City and State election boards may finally arrive in the 21st Century. The New York City and New York State Boards of Election are planning major technological upgrades to their vote counting and finance disclosure systems, staff told State Assembly members at a hearing Friday morning in Manhattan. By late 2015, voters in the city may know the results of most elections by 10 p.m. on election nights, thanks to tablets at every polling site that can upload vote counts just minutes after polls close. And in late 2016 or early 2017, the state board plans to launch a new campaign finance filing system, replacing a two-decade-old network that candidates say is difficult to use. On election night in New York City, poll workers and police officers usually transport memory sticks filled with vote count data to police precincts, where they are counted.
It can take hours in some parts of the city for results to trickle in. But at 216 polling sites in a pilot program this November, poll workers simply plugged the memory sticks into tablet devices and uploaded vote data onto the Board’s servers. All of these sites posted their results by 9:35 p.m., just 35 minutes after the polls closed.
“I think we took everybody by surprise by how quickly the results were tabulated,” City Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan told Gotham Gazette. “It demonstrates the promise of the technology.”
Now, the Board wants to bring the technology to all of the city’s 1241 poll sites.