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NYC public advocate: Brooklyn voters were ‘disenfranchised this morning’

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Infamous butterfly ballot designer Theresa LePore can’t be blamed for any of this.

“Voters around New York State stepped into the brave new world of electronic voting machines in Tuesday’s primary elections amid complaints around the city of longer-than-usual delays and troubles with the scanners that are supposed to swallow and tabulate the new, SAT-style ballots,” James Barron and Elissa Gootman report for The New York Times.

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On Monday, Beth Fouhy at the Associated Press noted, “Even the most jaded New Yorkers might consider this a recipe for chaos: New electronic voting machines are being introduced in the Sept. 14 primary. State and city budget cuts mean not enough staff has been trained to help voters use them. A glitch in the computer programming will let people mistakenly vote for too many candidates. And the machines come with paper ballots so hard to read, voters will be offered magnifying glasses.”

Election officials still insist the rollout of the optical scan voting machines should be relatively smooth, as New York becomes the last state to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act. HAVA, enacted in response to the contested Florida presidential vote in 2000, directed states to adopt simpler voting systems to avoid the nightmare that led to the contentious, 36-day recount in Florida that gave George Bush the state — and the White House — by 537 votes over Al Gore.

But voting rights advocates are so concerned about New York’s new system that one group has filed a lawsuit over flaws they have detected. And a state lawmaker has asked the U.S. Justice Department to intervene in what he warns could be a full-blown voting debacle.

“After years of voting the same way, you’ve now got to use a computer, and that’s not a friendly situation for people,” said Democratic Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who’s running for attorney general. “This is a big change in culture, and it has real potential for disaster.”

No one is claiming total “disaster” yet, but the day isn’t over.

The Times adds,

Some polling places in Brooklyn did not open for more than 90 minutes — and there was one report of a three-and-a-half hour delay — as election workers tried to get the new equipment to function. Senator Charles E. Schumer was held up when he arrived at Public School 321 in Park Slope just before the scheduled 6 a.m. opening: He and other voters had to wait 15 to 20 minutes before the machines were ready to take their ballots.

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The public advocate, Bill de Blasio, encountered at the Camp Friendship voting site at 339 Eighth Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, said it had not opened until 9 a.m.

Someone is supposed to show up in the morning and turn over keys to activate the machines, but Mr. de Blasio said the keys did not arrive until sometime between 8:30 and 9 a.m., almost three hours late.

“Whatever the exact protocol is, it didn’t happen this morning,” Mr. de Blasio said. “It’s very troubling. This is a very high voting site. It’s ridiculous that it took by one account by 8:30 a.m., by another count 9:30 a.m., to open up.”

“So basically,” he said, “the folks in Park Slope were disenfranchised this morning. The irony is these are the machines that were supposed to resolve the problems in 2000,” Mr. de Blasio said.

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Voting rights activist blogger Brad Friedman chimed in: “All of this, of course, could have been avoided, as New York Election Integrity advocates — as well as a number of election officials — have been fighting against the adoption of the new systems, after similar systems have racked up a disturbing record of failure across the nation since HAVA encouraged their implementation.”


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Military base shooter assailed US as ‘nation of evil’

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A Saudi military student reportedly condemned America as a "nation of evil" in an online manifesto prior to opening fire Friday at a US naval base, killing three people before being shot dead by police.

The shooting, which took place in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, left eight others wounded, including two sheriff's deputies who responded to the attack.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the shooter was from Saudi Arabia -- the same nationality as 15 of the 19 men involved in the 9/11 attacks, some of whom attended civilian flight school in Florida.

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Elon Musk cleared of defamation over ‘pedo guy’ tweet

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Tesla co-founder Elon Musk was cleared of defamation on Friday by a jury in Los Angeles over a tweet in which he labeled a British caver "pedo guy."

The jury deliberated less than an hour before ruling in favor of Musk and clearing him of any liability in the high-profile case that pitted him against Vernon Unsworth.

Unsworth had sought $190 million in damages from the tech billionaire, arguing that his reputation had been damaged by the tweet.

Musk hugged his lawyer on hearing the verdict, telling reporters afterwards: "My faith in humanity has been restored."

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Team Trump wants to steal another election — and there’s only one way to beat them back

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When I was growing up at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, back in the early 1960s, my mother drove down to Kansas City one morning to go shopping and have lunch with an old friend of her mother’s. Ladies going out shopping and having lunch in the upscale Country Club Plaza in Kansas City was almost a formal occasion. I remember she put on a summery suit and heels and stockings, and I’m pretty sure she wore a pair of white cotton gloves.

When she returned a few hours later, she wasn’t carrying any bags from the shops, and she was seething. The woman she’d eaten lunch with was married to a man who owned a chain of downtown hotels in major cities around the country. They lived in a big Tudor house in Mission Hills, the Beverly Hills of the Midwest. She drove a Cadillac. She was rich.

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