July 1, 2005, 2:30 PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) _ A mayoral task force urged the Board of Elections on Friday to hire a consultant to help it implement new voting machines in the city and said it will take quick work to get it done in time for the 2006 elections.
The task force warned that the city stands to lose $18 million in federal money if it misses the 2006 deadline for replacing lever voting machines, which the task force called obsolete.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg created the Election Modernization Task Force following reports of voter difficulty during the 2004 elections.
Besides hiring an expert consultant, it urged the Board of Elections to be prepared to buy new voting machines as soon as the state completes the certification and contracting processes.
It also suggested the board ask for public comment on what type of voting machines the city should buy. A board spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.
The city will get about $72 million in federal money under the 2002 Help America Vote Act. The task force criticized the state Legislature for dragging its feet and passing a bill only last week implementing the voting-machine component of the act.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.
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