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East Meadow Residents Head Out to the Polls

People are testing the electronic voting system for the first time in a general election.

East Meadow residents headed to the polls early on Tuesday to cast their votes in the race for the state's governor, as well as state representatives.

Voters have been testing out the new electronic polling system this election day. It is the first time the new machines have been used in a general election, even though they have been used once before during the primaries.

"The new machines are very good, accurate, well displayed and well handled," said Harvey Nager after voting at . "The process is quite good and fast. With the old lever machines, you were never sure if you pulled the handle back far enough."

For Lew Malchick, poll coordinator at Barnum Woods, the morning was off to a smooth start despite minor glitches with one scanner that were quickly resolved.

Malchick said that there are no real problems with the machines, but most of the problems lie with people who are simply not looking to adjust to a new method.

With the new machines, voting is a two-part process. After registration, voters were given a ballot and a privacy sleeve and are directed to one of the privately shielded voting booths. There the voter would use one of the provided pens to bubble in the circles they wish to vote for.

After filling out the ballot, voters use the privacy sleeve to cover the ballot and brings it to the DS200 Ballot Scanner. Using an optical scanner, the machine reads marked paper ballots and tallies the results immediately and also notifies the voter of any possible errors before finalizing the vote.

"There are definitely more steps than before," said Karla Lopez of East Meadow. "The process worked fine for me, but I think the two steps could be more difficult for others."

Some were particularly annoyed about the new system. East Meadow resident Valentino Termotto simply said, "It stinks," when asked about the new process.

"I had been voting on the other machines for a long time now," Termotto said. "I hate this. Why change it? You couldn't get any better."

Most residents believe the change is for the best, and that it's just a matter of people adjusting to it.

Gail Widrow, poll coordinator at said that once people vote with the new electronic machines they won't be so hostile towards it.

"It's just how new it is. Filling the circles, and understanding what an under vote means, especially in an election where you can vote for up to four judges," said Widrow. "Once people go through it once, they won't be afraid of it anymore.

Parkway handled its own small share of troubles with machines that weren't reading ballots because the ink was not dark enough as well as a shortage of pens to bubble in ballots. Both problems were resolved.

In addition, a few people were turned away from voting at Parkway this morning when one district's ballot scanner was not delivered on time. It took about two hours for the polling place to receive that district's scanner and no votes could be made until then.

The new machines will allow for quicker ballot tabulation, as well as hard copy back-ups of ballots for potential recounts and more accessible voting for handicapped people.

Follow East Meadow Patch tonight at the results come in to see who your elected officials will be for the next term.

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