On Eventful Election Day, New York City BOE Turns to Twitter

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[Image courtesy of BOENYC Twitter page]

After months of buildup, New York City held its citywide primary election yesterday, choosing nominees in the race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg and fill other citywide offices.

The big story, of course, was the return of the City’s lever voting machines, which were pressed into service after concerns about whether or not the Board of Elections would have time to turn around ballots in the event of a runoff, which could be likely (at least on the Democratic side) pending the final count.

Lever machines yielded a mixed bag on Tuesday; the New York Times found that they brought “problems and praise“, with some voters encountering jammed or broken machines and others relishing the chance to hear the traditional “thunk” of a cast ballot.

Through it all – as is common these days – it all played out on Twitter. At the center of it all, the New York City Board of Elections fielded questions, complaints and comments using Twitter handle @BOENYC. There was a little of everything in that feed – complaints about broken machines, reports of electioneering, gripes about the behavior of poll workers or poll watchers – and all day, one or more people (I hope it was more than one!) at the Board patiently reassured voters, asked for more information and made plans for followup. The feed even consoled a voter with a =( when he reported that his polling site had run out of “I Voted” stickers.

All in all, it made for fascinating reading – and while it won’t likely improve the Board’s reputation (which has taken a well-deserved beating given numerous problems) it does illustrate how front-line election workers dedicate themselves to helping voters on Election Day.

Kudos to whoever was behind @BOENYC – and here’s hoping you’re icing those carpal tunnels/thumbs today!

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