More bucks for better ballots?


Head of task force says city's 2006 elections 'could be more chaotic than Florida' if Albany doesn't free up $220 million for election reform





March 11, 2005


City officials called on the State Legislature yesterday to pass legislation that would free up $220 million in federal funding to help modernize the city's election system.


An Assembly-Senate legislative conference met Monday in Albany to discuss the stalled legislation, but agreed on little beyond an agreement to meet again.


Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, head of a mayoral task force, held a news conference on the steps of City Hall yesterday to urge action in Albany.


"If the State Legislature does not act within a month, New York State faces the prospect of losing $220 million in federal funds to buy new voting machines," Cardozo said.


"And, equally significant, the New York City election in 2006 could be more chaotic than Florida in the year 2000," said Cardozo, head of the Election Modernization Task Force.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg later issued a statement agreeing with the task force, which he appointed Feb. 8 after complaints about Election Day last year, which was marked by long lines at polling places, broken machines, a crashed Board of Elections computer, confusion about voter-identification procedures and other problems.


The task force statement yesterday referred to those problems as "voting anomalies."


Neither Cardozo nor Bloomberg would comment directly on the political issues that Albany is confronting - whether the state or localities should control the new system, and what type of machines should be used.


"That's putting the cart before the horse," former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., a member of the task force, said in response to questions. "This is not a political issue. We should be about good government, not good politics," he said.


However, neither the Republican nor Democratic parties have shown any inclination to give up control of the highly politicized election process at both the state and city levels.


Copyright 2005, Newsday, Inc.




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