$220M for voting machines seen as imperiled
Mayoral panel says state
could lose funding for new devices because of dawdling in
By MICHAEL SCHOLL
Richmond County Clerk Stephen Fiala and the other members of the Election Modernization Task Force, appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said the money could be lost unless lawmakers act quickly to approve new voting machine legislation.
to qualify, states must replace antiquated voting machines with new ones before
City Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo, the task force chairman, said it is imperative that the city buy new machines soon to give the Board of Elections time to prepare them for the 2006 elections and to train employees in their use.
if the state waits much longer, the city could face a 2006 election season
"more chaotic than the
"The Legislature must act and must act immediately," said Cardozo, during a City Hall news conference.
"If they don't act now, we're out of compliance [in 2006]," Fiala said. "That's the bottom line. We will be in violation of federal law."
After an Election Day plagued by broken voting machines, confusing instructions and other problems, Bloomberg announced plans to form a panel to recommend ways to improve operations, productivity and overall efficiency at the Board of Elections, and to modernize the voting process.
Yesterday, the mayor issued a statement supporting the task force's call for quick legislative action.
"Further delay by the state will make it extremely difficult for the Board of Elections to prepare for the 2006 election, when the new machines will need to be introduced," Bloomberg said. "I therefore join the task force in strongly urging the Legislature to quickly pass, and the governor to sign, this long-overdue legislation."
Michael Scholl covers City Hall for the Advance. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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