New York: Overvotes: Phantoms of the Ballot Box | ReformNY

The New York State Board of ElectionsNew York City Boards of Elections, and voting machine manufacturer ES&S each released reports yesterday detailing the results of an investigation into the abnormally high numbers of lost votes attributed to “overvoting” in the South Bronx in 2010. The upshot is that a machine defect led to “phantom votes” on at least one machine used in the 2010 election, resulting in some candidates receiving more votes than they should have, and the choices of many more voters being voided when the machines detected both actual and phantom votes in the same contest. Now that the reports on how this happened are out, election officials must make sure that what happened in the Bronx in 2010 does not happen again in the future. Voting machines record overvotes when they detect more than one candidate selected for a contest. In such cases, no vote is recorded for any candidate in the overvoted contest, regardless of the voter’s actual intent. The Brennan Center first uncovered a high number of overvotes in the South Bronx while reviewing documents produced for discovery in a litigation it brought against the State and City. It published its findings in Design Deficiencies and Lost Votes; the report notes that in some election districts up to 40% of the votes cast did not count.