Relates to run-off elections in the city of New York.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to authorizing the use of mechanical voting machines for non-federal elections in the city of New York
PURPOSE: This bill would authorize the New York City Board of Elections to conduct its non-federal elections using the lever voting machines.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one amends subdivision 1 of section 7-200 of the Election Law to authorize the New York City Board of Elections to prepare, deploy, and utilize mechanical lever voting machines in and for any non-Federal elections. If such machines are used, the Board of Elections must also provide a voting system that meets the requirements of Election Law section 7-202(2).
Section two provides that this act shall take effect immediately.
EXISTING LAW: Current law restricts the use of mechanical lever operated machines.
JUSTIFICATION: The bill authorizes the New York City board of elections to conduct its nonfederal elections using the lever voting machines.
Since 2010, the board of elections of the City of New York has conducted its elections on new electronic voting machines. These machines were purchased under a mandate from the federal government requiring New York to replace its lever voting machines for federal elections.
The lever voting machines had been successfully used in New York for over one hundred years. The lever machines have proven reliable and easy for voters to use.
This year, the City of New York faces the prospect of three elections over a two month period, the primary, a run-off primary, and the general election. The offices up for election this year include the Mayors City Comptroller, Public Advocate, Borough President and all of the city Council seats. The experience that the City has endured since the introduction of the electronic voting systems indicates that the new system will not allow for the orderly conduct of the election particularly if there needs to be run-off primary pursuant to election law section 6-162. The time required to properly test the electronic machines makes the two-week window between these two primaries almost impossible to comply with. This is particularly true in the event the run-off candidates are not readily discernible on the day after the primary election, a scenario that is likely to occur. The use of the lever voting machines will expedite the canvass of the votes cast at the primary election and will markedly reduce the number of paper ballots that would need to be hand canvassed. It is a very real possibility that the use of the paper ballots with the scanners could
result in a hand count of one or more of the contests, a scenario that would make the run-off impossible to hold in the required time frame.
In addition, the ballots on the new voting systems are creating many readability problems for voters. The names of the candidates and the other information on the ballots are in such small print that the voters are not able to read the ballot or understand where they need to mark the ballot.
The voters' familiarity with the lever voting machines, their ease of use, and their reliability all dictate the need to allow the City board of elections the ability to use these machines for this most important election this fall. The City simply cannot risk the possibility that the new voting systems will fail to provide a full and fair election. This bill gives the City the necessary authority to use a voting process that has proven to work in the past and alleviate what could be an unnecessarily chaotic election.
In order to accommodate the disabled voters, the bill mandates that if the board of elections chooses to use the lever voting machines, they must also have each polling pace outfitted with a voting machine designed to allow voting by disabled voters. These voting systems, already owned and used by the board of elections, will ensure that our disabled community is provided with accessible voting machines.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: It is the sponsors understanding that the use of the mechanical lever voting machines will save the City of New York a significant amount of money.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4088 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 7, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sens. GOLDEN, LANZA, FELDER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to authorizing the use of mechanical voting machines for non-federal elections in the city of New York THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 7-200 of the election law, as amended by chapter 181 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows: 1. The board of elections of the city of New York and other county boards of elections may adopt any kind of voting machine or system approved by the state board of elections, or the use of which has been specifically authorized by law; and thereupon such voting machine or system may be used at any or all elections and shall be used at all general or special elections held by such boards in such city, town or village and in every contested primary election in the city of New York and in every contested primary election outside the city of New York in which there are one thousand or more enrolled voters qualified to vote. No more than two types of voting machines or systems may be used by any local board of elections at a single election. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this subdivision, any local board of elections may borrow or lease for use on an experimental basis for a period of not more than one year each, voting machines or systems of any type approved by the state board of elections. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISIONS OF LAW, THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO PREPARE, DEPLOY AND UTILIZE MECHANICAL LEVER VOTING MACHINES IN AND FOR ANY NON-FEDERAL ELECTIONS CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 8-100 OF THIS CHAPTER. SHOULD THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK UTILIZE SUCH MECHANICAL LEVER VOTING MACHINES IN ANY SUCH ELECTION, THE BOARDEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09741-01-3 S. 4088 2
MUST ALSO PROVIDE A VOTING SYSTEM THAT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF SUBDI- VISION TWO OF SECTION 7-202 OF THIS TITLE IN EACH POLLING SITE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.