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An Interesting Recount

15 May 2012

An interesting election recount is about to take place in New York. The race itself is of little intrinsic importance — the legislative session ends June 21, and the seat itself has been redistricted out of existence — save for the oddity of a Republican apparently having won an election in Brooklyn, albeit by just 27 votes out of 22,137 votes cast. (The previous holder of the seat will be a guest of the Federal prison system for the next seven or so years...) What's really interesting, though, is that this will be the first manual recount of an election in New York City since it switched to optical mark scan paper ballots.

Many voting technologists favor such ballots, precisely because a hand recount is possible. But are they accurate, in the real world? Both the city and voters have had trouble with the machines in the past. I'll be curious to see what happens here, and even more curious to see what, if anything, is done to correct any flaws that are found.

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