Before the next election day, local officials need to take steps to assure that people have more privacy while voting.
Several Press-Republican staff members took note of setups at polling places around the area that could have been adjusted to ensure more confidentiality as people voted. For example, at the Plattsburgh State Field House, one long table had been set up with about four privacy screens. But the space between each voter was slight enough that it would have been easy to glance around the screen at the ballot of the person next to you.
Some people don’t care who knows who they voted for, but many people would like their choices to remain confidential — our voting system is based on that right.
On the Press-Republican Facebook page, we asked for some feedback about the issue. Here’s a sampling of responses:
Jeff Morand: “Did not feel comfortable. Handing a paper to a person to put into scanner as he/she looks at your vote. Step Away Please!”
Amanda Trow-Racine: “Voting in Rouses Point was perfect ... privacy and helpful friendly people.”
Khris Heffernan: “Not having privacy doesn’t bother me. Every one finds out who you’re voting for sooner or later!”
Joanne Monteleone: “Terrible lack of privacy!! I want and need to be able to exercise my right to vote with more then just a little piece of plastic between people and my paper waving around before it’s fed through the voting machine! Bring back the old lever!”
Jennifer Marie Wagner: “The worker took the ballot right out of my hand as I was trying to feed it into the machine. Definitely, felt there could have been more privacy!”
Kelley Brault: “I just walked to the machine and stuck in my ballot; no one stepped in my way or came over to help. If they had, I just would have told them I didn’t need their assistance.”
Robert Littlefield: “Keeseville Fire Station was fine ... privacy screens were kind of cheap but still effective.”
Phyllis Peck Mihill: “The old lever voting machines were much more private!”
Chad Dick: “The setup was fine. The booths were at a good distance away from each other. If you feel you need privacy, keep the paper upside down when you leave the booth. There was one lady by the machines (to help if needed), but she wasn’t really paying attention anyway. I guess it doesn’t bother me who sees who I vote for.”
Tammy Rock: “I voted in Altona, and the inspector never touched my paper. She told me to place it in upside down. She was at least 2 feet from the machine. The ladies there were excellent.”
Aimée Baker: “The child that belonged to a neighboring voter leaning into my ‘booth’ sure didn’t make it seem private.”