By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — After years of delay, New York voters will enter democracy's modern era this fall when they cast ballots on new-fangled machines that use optical scanners instead of levers.
Voters will test drive the new ballot counters at a public demonstration Thusday at 7:30 p.m. at Goddard-Riverside Community Center located at 593 Columbus Ave.
For some, the machines will be a throwback to school days. They work like the scanners on standardized tests, with voters filling in bubbles to mark their votes.
The switch to new voting system makes New York one of the last cities in the country to abandon the 1960's-era lever machines. The change has been years on the making.
The federal government ordered states to switch to new voting systems in the wake of the 2000 election debacle in Florida. New York dragged its feet on picking a new system for so long that the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state in 2006.
In January, the city's Board of Elections selected Omaha-based Election Systems and Software for the $70 million contract to provide the city's 5,000 to 7,000 new voting machines, the New York Times reported.
Officials say the new machines will be speedier and more accurate than the old system.
The next public demonstration of the new machines will be held Monday, June 28 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 6 West 96th Street.