Head of voting group discusses machines
Bo Lipari, director of New Yorkers For Verified Voting, spoke to Otsego County’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday about choices the state and county may soon make in purchasing voting machines.
Lipari said optical scanners are cheaper and far more reliable than computer touch-screen models. He said he doesn’t represent a company that sells machines.
Only one scanner is used at each polling station and it can be hooked up to several voting booths, he said. Scanners would cost about $5,500 apiece, compared to about $11,500 for a touch-screen model that meets all New York state’s requirements, he said.
In Otsego County, it would cost about $751,000 to outfit polling stations with touch-screen machines, compared to about $452,000 for scanners.
The transition to new voting machines is mandated by the federal Help America Vote Act, but the choice of machines has been left up to states, and in some cases, to counties.
A drawback of optical scanners is that paper ballots must be printed for every election. However, even if the county opts for touch-screen machines, it still must print paper absentee, affidavit and emergency ballots, Lipari said.
Lipari said that touch-screen models are also far larger and more delicate than scanners and require special storage facilities.
IGA chairman Greg Relic, R-Unadilla said he and other committee members will continue to study the matter.
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