Bill S7584-2009

Authorizes use of lever voting machines for school elections

Authorizes use of lever voting machines for school elections.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 8, 2010: SUBSTITUTED BY A10507A
  • May 27, 2010: ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • May 26, 2010: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 25, 2010: 1ST REPORT CAL.644
  • Apr 23, 2010: REFERRED TO EDUCATION

Votes

VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Education - May 25, 2010
Ayes (17): Oppenheimer, Montgomery, Breslin, Johnson C, Espada, Squadron, Stavisky, Huntley, Addabbo, Foley, Flanagan, Saland, LaValle, Seward, Marcellino, Little, Padavan
Absent (1): Serrano
Excused (1): Morahan

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S7584

TITLE : An act to amend the education law, in relation to use of lever voting machines and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

PURPOSE : The bill is intended to address issues that schools face due to the impending replacement of lever voting machines in 2010 with new voting machines that meet the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 and the state Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Sections 1,2,5,6, and 7 of the bill amends various section of the education law to provide that voting machines may be used in school district elections as permitted in Education Law § 2035(1).

Section 3 of the bill amends Education Law § 1951(2)(g) to provide that the board of cooperative educational services may permit the use of lever voting machines in elections but that such authority shall not be construed to require the board of elections to make lever voting machines available for such elections.

Section 4 of the bill amends Education Law § 2035(1) to provide that the trustees or board of education of any school district may permit the use of lever voting machines in elections but that such authority shall not be construed to require the board of elections to make lever voting machines available for such elections.

Section 8 of the bill contains the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION : Current law allows schools to conduct their elections with paper ballots or voting machines. Some schools that use voting machines own such machines. Others borrow or rent voting machines from the board of elections. Still others pay a private company to conduct their elections with voting machines.

However, the federal Help America Voting Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires that voting machines used in federal elections must "produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity." The lever voting machines currently in use in New York State do not produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity. As a result, the New York Election Reform and Modernization Act, or ERMA (Chapter 181 of the Laws of 2005) requires that all lever machines in New York be replaced by voting machines that, among other things, produce a permanent paper record with a manual audit capacity. ERMA provides that once the new machines are in place, the use of lever voting machines will be prohibited in New York State.

After several years of effort, all of the boards of elections around the state will permanently replace the lever voting machines with precinct based optical scan voting machines beginning with the September 2010 primary election. At that point, schools will no longer be able to legally use lever voting machines unless they are given explicit authority to do so. Such authority is feasible because school district elections, unlike state elections, are not held at the same time as federal elections which fall under the HAVA mandate.

School districts around the state have expressed an overwhelming preference to continue using lever voting machines in their elections. This bill gives school districts that option through December 31, 2012. However, it does not impose any obligation on the boards of elections to maintain care, custody or control of lever voting machines or to provide school districts with such voting machines for their elections. The bill temporarily maintains the status quo with respect to the options that school districts have to run their elections, but the board of elections has no obligation to assist a school that chooses to use lever voting machines after September 2010. The sunset provisions in the bill will allow a reevaluation of the situation once the new voting machines have been used in several election cycles.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None for the boards of elections. Schools that want to use lever machines will have to obtain such machines at their own expense.

EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately; provided, however, that the authority to use lever machines will expire on December 31, 2012.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 7584 IN SENATE April 23, 2010 ___________
Introduced by Sen. OPPENHEIMER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Education AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to use of lever voting machines and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expira- tion thereof THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 5 of section 1803 of the education law, as amended by chapter 461 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows: 5. Votes upon the adoption of a resolution shall be cast in the same manner as votes for the election of school district trustees. The commissioner of education may order such modifications in the manner of voting as are customary for school district elections in the community affected by such vote. Such modifications may include the use of voting machines, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWO THOUSAND THIR- TY-FIVE OF THIS CHAPTER, and shall include the use of absentee ballots as provided under section two thousand eighteen-a or two thousand eigh- teen-b of this chapter, whichever shall apply. S 2. Subdivision 8 of section 1803-a of the education law, as added by chapter 236 of the laws of 1979, is amended to read as follows: 8. The commissioner of education may order such modifications in the manner of voting on the resolution described in subdivision two of section eighteen hundred three of this [chapter] ARTICLE and for the election described in subdivision seven of this section as are customary in school district elections in the community affected by such vote. Such modifications may include the use of voting machines, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWO THOUSAND THIRTY-FIVE OF THIS CHAPTER, and the use of nominating petitions. S 3. Paragraph g of subdivision 2 of section 1951 of the education law, as added by chapter 795 of the laws of 1967 and such section as renumbered by chapter 378 of the laws of 1972, is amended to read as follows:
g. If the board of cooperative educational services shall so deter- mine, voting machines, INCLUDING LEVER VOTING MACHINES, may be used for recording the vote at such meeting. Before any such machine is used at any such meeting, the inspectors of election shall examine it and see that all the counters are set at zero (000) and that the ballot labels are properly placed, and that the machine is in all respects in proper condition for use. The use of such machine shall be deemed a compliance with any provision of law requiring the vote to be by ballot. The board of cooperative educational services may purchase the necessary voting machine or machines; or if the county board of elections shall consent thereto, such machines belonging to the county or belonging to the town in which any part of said board of cooperative educational services shall be located may be used at any such meeting, the expense of deliv- ery and returning and setting up, and any other expense connected there- with shall be defrayed by the board of cooperative educational services; but such machines belonging to the county shall not be so used at the time or times when they may be required under the election law. NOTHING IN THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO REQUIRE THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO MAINTAIN THE CARE, CUSTODY OR CONTROL OF LEVER VOTING MACHINES. S 4. Subdivision 1 of section 2035 of the education law, as amended by chapter 571 of the laws of 1958, is amended to read as follows: 1. If the trustees or board of education of any school district shall so determine, voting machines, INCLUDING LEVER VOTING MACHINES, may be used for recording the vote on elections and questions, or either, at the school district meetings or elections, annual and special, or either, in such district. Before any such machine is used at any such meeting or election, the inspectors of election shall examine it and see that all the counters are set at zero (000) and that the ballot labels are properly placed, and that the machine is in all respects in proper condition for use. The use of such machine shall be deemed a compliance with any provision of law requiring the vote to be by ballot. Such trus- tees or board of education, with district funds available, may purchase the necessary voting machine or machines; or, if the county board of elections shall consent thereto, such machines belonging to the county or belonging to the town in which any part of said school district shall be located, may be used at any such meeting, the expense of delivery and returning and setting up, and any other expense connected therewith, to be defrayed by the school district; but such machines belonging to the county shall not be so used at the time or times when they may be required under the election law. NOTHING IN THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO REQUIRE THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO MAINTAIN THE CARE, CUSTO- DY OR CONTROL OF LEVER VOTING MACHINES. S 5. Paragraph l of subdivision 9 of section 2502 of the education law, as added by chapter 65 of the laws of 1972, is amended to read as follows: l. Voting for the election of members of such board of education shall be by voting machine, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWO THOUSAND THIRTY-FIVE OF THIS CHAPTER, and shall be governed by the applicable provisions of the election law with respect to voting machines. S 6. Paragraph l of subdivision 9-a of section 2502 of the education law, as amended by chapter 36 of the laws of 1990, is amended to read as follows: l. Voting for the election of members of such board of education shall be by voting machine, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWO THOUSAND THIRTY-FIVE OF THIS CHAPTER, and shall be governed by the
applicable provisions of the election law with respect to voting machines; provided, however, that a single polling place, at a location within the school district of the city of Rensselaer specified by the board of education not later than thirty days prior to the annual school election, shall be utilized. S 7. Paragraph l of subdivision 10 of section 2553 of the education law, as added by chapter 242 of the laws of 1974, is amended to read as follows: l. Voting for the election of members of such board of education shall be by voting machine, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF SECTION TWO THOUSAND THIRTY-FIVE OF THIS CHAPTER, and shall be governed by the applicable provisions of the election law with respect to voting machines. S 8. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be deemed repealed December 31, 2012.

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