Paper votes in Vernon during machine repairs

There were scattered voting machine problems around the county this morning as voters went to the polls to elect mostly county and local officials.

The polls are open until 9 p.m.

Republican Election Commissioner Pamela N. Mandryck said there was a problem at a Vernon polling location when none of the three voting machines would operate. While the problem was being fixed, voters used paper emergency ballots or a ballot marking device. All polling sites have one such machine to accommodate special needs of the handicapped.

Mandryck said also were reports of temporary glitches at some Utica polling locations and elsewhere one machine that had to be repaired when a lever broke off.

The county has 192 election districts.

The commissioner said no problems were reported to the Board of Elections from Marcy, where all four polling locations are using an electronic scanning system to cast their votes. The same machines were used in the September primary as well.

"We haven’t heard anything from Marcy," said Mandryck.

Instead of enclosing themselves behind curtains, voters are given paper ballots by poll workers, who rip them from a party ballot book.

The workers then send each voter to a privacy booth, where the choices are made by filling in circles with a black pen, similar to taking a standardized test. Then the voters take the ballots to the machine and feed them through the scanner.

It is expected that the entire county will get the new machines next year, replacing the lever-style machines that have been used for decades.

Mandryck said the Marcy polling site workers have been asked to monitor how the process flows and listen for comments from voters.