Spin Cycle  News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics


Paper ballots unfunded by Suffolk exec, who blasts forced expense


Monday October 26, 2009 7:57 PM By Rick Brand


Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy may have ambitions for statewide election, but he won’t get very far if his home county does not have the money needed to print next year’s ballots.


Anita Katz, Democratic elections commissioner, asked for $475,000, which Levy left out of his proposed 2010 budget, to print the paper ballots that will be needed next year when the county switches from lever to electronic voting machines. The new electronic machines require voters to fill out paper ballots which will then be scanned and tabulated by computer.


Under state law, the board is required to print ballots not only for every one of Suffolk’s 880,000 registered voters, but 110 percent of the enrolled voters, even though only about half cast ballots in a gubernatorial year. The requirement covers not only general election and the September primaries which drew even fewer voters.


Levy, who has fought the switch in court, said the printing costs are just another unfunded mandate along with $1.5 million in new construction to store new machines. “It’s all unnecessary spurred by a cottage industry of electronic voting machine manufacturers,” he said.