Voting lines in New York City, machine failures, repair personnel and backup

An article in the New York Times (November 8, 2016) describes the long lines to vote in New York City. The article describes 50 repair personnel allocated to repair machines in 1200 stations, but also stuck in traffic as they go between stations.  Some voting locations with long lines offered emergency ballots that will be counted later. Some voters gave up after lines persisted, hoping to vote after work.   Given the sporadic use of voting equipment, what can be done to ensure their smooth functioning on election day ? Should backup capacity of machines be planned, anticipating past machine malfunctions ?  Should states that only permit voting on election day start moving to increase the window over which voting can occur by permitting early voting ?   How can election execution cost be balanced with a need to provide access to voting to all citizens ?

About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Capacity, Operations Management, technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Voting lines in New York City, machine failures, repair personnel and backup

  1. Donald Todd says:

    Interesting topic. I too experienced long line, machine failures and the repair personnel nowhere to be found. I currently live in the state of Missouri. They do not allow early voting as my previous state of North Carolina provided. I patiently waited my 3 hours to vote but not everyone has the luxury. I think, what can be done to ensure a smoother election day is to have better instrumentation to collect the ballot as well as a service technician on site to correct any issues that arises. I do think that every state should move to early voting but this is a political issue depending on who is charge of the state house. It amazes me that we are okay with long lines on election day in a modern society without having early voting across the US. The election cost. The cost of running an election is expense supposedly and most of the poll workers are volunteers. Creating a better voting system for all citizens is worth the cost. Establishing a system that is more Modern and Technologically advanced, behooves us all.

  2. Michael Romedy says:

    Voting and democracy are so important to our concept of governance the polling machines should strive for “all up, all the time” in order to allow for maximum voter participation.

  3. Rabi says:

    I agree with detail analysis posted by Arun. The online technology related comments posted by Toby & Kyle is the way to go forward in the sense that we should have the technology at this point ( if we chose that route)
    to allow people to vote from their laptops/IPads/phones if so desired. This should help get younger voters more involved in the process as well.

    But the core issue of optimizing the flow time at polling stations must also be addressed.
    A similar example is the retail industry where we have many online retailers today, but processing the long line at checkout for those who will come into the physical store of any retailer still must be handled
    (specially during peak seasons such as Black Friday) through proper operations management. Increasing the check-out counters can help reduce the flow time in the retail example and thereby reduce the pipeline inventory.
    In our voting example, adding more voting machines with buffers that allow for maintenance fixes to be done and eliminating waste through automation wherever feasible can reduce the flow time and
    thereby reduce the pipeline inventory.

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