Pressure Mounting For Optical Scan Voting In New York


(Albany, NY) AP 03/13/05 -- While manufacturers are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying the NYS Legislature to bring touch-screen voting to New York, there is pressure mounting to consider a simpler technology.


Both The New York Times and the New York chapter of the League of Women Voters are coming out in favor of optical scan voting as the state seeks to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act.


Optical scan technology allows machines to "read" marks made on a paper ballot.


Adopted in the wake of the 2000 presidential vote-count fiasco in Florida, the HAVA legislation gives each state millions of dollars to upgrade their voting systems.


The touch screen voting machine industry spent about $1 million last year on lobbyists to work the halls of the state Capitol.


But the New York Times says Albany should ignore those lobbyists and instead use optical scan machines because of lower cost. The times says more expensive machines will lead to fewer being purchased and that could lead to long lines at voting booths.


League President Marcia Merrins says the optical scan machines are secure, accurate, recountable and accessible.


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