Assembly Passes Bill for Village Voting Machines

Westchester’s State Assembly members played a leading role in passing legislation to provide villages the option of using lever voting machines for March’s village elections. While current state law requires the use of electronic voting machines, the cost and availability of those machines posed a problem for a number of Westchester’s villages that face the deadline of village elections on Tuesday, March 15.

“Village clerks in many of our communities – Larchmont, Port Chester, Scarsdale, Pleasantville – asked us to provide them with the option of mechanical lever machines to deal with the upcoming village elections” stated Assemblyman George Latimer (D-Rye), a key supporter of the bill (A.3093-B) sponsored by Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel of Long Island. Villages sought the same authorization granted last year to school districts allowing for lever machine usage for the 2011 and 2012 village elections.

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh) noted that “this legislation helped save local village budgets. Village governments faced significant costs to utilize County-owned optical-scan machines; 4this option allows these villages an affordable alternative for the immediate future”.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin added “We remain fully committed to ensuring compliance with the federal Help Americans Vote Act, but this was a commonsense measure to facilitate local elections until the transition to electronic voting machines can be made".

"This legislation will allow villages the time they need to make appropriate arrangements to ensure the democratic process of voting can continue unabated while villages work to come into compliance with the federal regulations", stated Assemblywoman Sandra Galef (D-Ossining).

Assemblyman Steve Katz stated, "As a staunch advocate of mandate relief, I am proud to have been among the sponsors of this bill and of the bipartisan effort that led to its passage this week. Ensuring our local village elections continue to run smoothly is an important concern, especially as few villages can afford to purchase the new HAVA-mandated voting machines in the still-struggling economy. I am glad that we could come together, at the start of this legislative cycle, to deliver this important mandate-relief measure for villages throughout New York."

Assembly members Latimer, Paulin, Abinanti, and Galef were co-sponsors of the bill and Assembly member Katz was a multi-sponsor. The bill passed the Assembly (134-0) and the State Senate (55-5). Governor Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law.