Does the highlighted paragraph below mean that our State Board of Elections has become a lawless agency? Liberty does not expect to have a working VVPB for six months so how can their machine be certified? Is our State Board of Elections simply going to certify “vaporware” (equipment that does not exist) based on the vendor’s claims that they will manufacture and deliver working machines with those features, even though they don’t have any in existence today?
Finger Lakes Times
Ontario to save $500K for new voting machines
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
By CRAIG FOX
CANANDAIGUA — To comply with the Help America Vote Act, Ontario County officials plan to set aside $500,000 in next year’s Capital Improvement Plan to purchase 25 spare voting machines.
The county needs to purchase the units under new federal guidelines put in place to address the voting irregularities of the 2000 presidential elections.
Although the county is earmarked to receive $1.19 million in federal funding for 115 state-of-the-art electronic voting machines, that may not be enough to purchase 25 more that would be used when others break down and for educational purposes.
The total cost to the county will depend on which type of machines are selected by the state Board of Elections, said Ontario County Republican Elections Commissioner Michael Northrup said.
The state’s “best guess” is between $7,000 and $7,500 per machine, but the county believes that figure could be closer to $10,000, Northrup said.
The state will most likely select four or five different types of machines from which county commissioners can choose, said Lee Daghlian, a state Board of Elections spokesman.
However, Northrup said that won’t happen until winter — after this year’s county budget process — so the county would rather have enough money set aside than not enough.
“It’s the best we can do for what we know right now,” he said.
The new machinery will replace lever-action equipment that has been used in most parts of New York state for much of the last century. The new units must be ready for use by September 2006.
The county must also find a climate-controlled place to store them, Northrup said, adding the county is considering the former county jail on Ontario Street.
A group of Ontario County administrators, including Democratic Elections Commissioner Mary Salotti and Northrup, has been studying the voting machine issue in recent months.
“Personally, I think we’re in better shape than most counties,” Northrup said.
Working with the state’s Office of General Services, the state elections board is expected to “certify” the first type, a touch-screen computer unit, in the coming weeks, Daghlian said. Manufactured by the Holland-based Liberty Voting Systems, the “direct recording equipment,” or DREs, are used in many parts of Europe.
Two others — another DRE manufactured by an Owego company and one that would require voters to fill circles with No. 2 pencils — are also top contenders, said Seneca County Democratic Commissioner Ruth Same, who has worked on a state task force to find new machines.
Seneca County must replace 30 lever machines and own six spares. County officials will soon start figuring out how to finance the program, Same said.
In Yates County, about $237,000 has been budgeted in its Capital Improvements Plan for 22 replacement machines and six spares, although there may be enough federal funding to pay for all of them, said Republican County Commissioner Pam Welker.
In Wayne County, the Board of Supervisors was expected to decide this morning whether to move its elections board into the old nursing home off Route 31, where the county’s 85 new machines would also be stored.
The four counties also will be taking over the financial responsibility of election inspectors and custodians from villages and towns.
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