Mar 3, 2007


Lifton seeks to preserve committee on voting machines

From Journal staff reports


Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, D-125th, has introduced legislation to preserve a state committee established to advise the state about modernizing its voting machines.


Under the federal Help America Vote Act, New York is to phase out nearly 20,000 lever machines and replace them with new technology accessible to people with disabilities, a project that could potentially cost hundreds of millions of dollars. New York has not made a decision on what kind of equipment to use to replace the old lever machines.


Lifton's measure would extend the life of the Citizens' Election Modernization Advisory Committee until July 1, 2010. The legislation would allow the committee to continue advising the state Board of Elections on voting machine certification. The board would take the committee's recommendations into consideration when determining whether a voting machine meets HAVA requirements.


The advisory committee comprises the co-executive directors of the state board of elections, four local election commissioners, one member appointed by the Assembly and one by the Senate. The rest of the members are from disability rights organizations, including a representative from the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and from the Disabled American Veterans. The New York State League of Women Voters also has a representative.


“Buying new voting machines is a huge investment, and we must make sure we invest properly,” Lifton said. “The committee can help ensure that voters are able to cast their ballots on machines that are reliable and count every vote accurately — which will ensure voter confidence in the fairness of our elections.”


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