BILL NUMBER: S1059
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the election law, in relation to implementing a
statewide voting system using paper ballots, precinct-based optical
scanners and ballot marking devices for voters with special needs; and
to repeal certain provisions of such law relating to voting machines
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
To provide a secure, accessible, verifiable, transparent, and
economical voting system for New York State.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
This bill requires the State Board of Elections to adopt a statewide
voting system using equipment bought through a competitive-bidding
process which will become the exclusive, official voting system used
in New York State starting in the Primary and General Elections of
2009 and thereafter.
The voting machines are precinct-based optical scanners, to be used in
conjunction with precinct-based paper ballots, and a ballot marking
device for the disabled.
Under this bill, the State Board of Elections is authorized to
contract for voting machines and provide them to counties.
This bill defines the voting methods to be utilized throughout New
York State as: paper ballot, precinct-based optical scanner, and
ballot-marking device for the disabled. Privacy screens are also
required to ensure voting secrecy. No other voting machinery, such as
DREs or punch cards, is allowed.
Pursuant to this legislation, paper ballots are the ballot of record.
These records will be retained by the voting machine.
This legislation is designed to comply with the Help America Vote Act,
to provide for a secure, accessible, verifiable, transparent, and
economical voting system which will be chosen through a competitive,
open process. Under this bill, such system will ensure voting is
accessible to all voters and protected by safeguards against vote
tampering or fraud.
The system is easy for voters to understand and provides an auditable
paper trail necessary for accurate recounts whenever required.
The advantages include the following: all voters including the
disabled use an identical paper ballot, optical scan ballots are
easily understood by voters, optical scan ballots allow each voter to
vote only once, precinct-based optical scanners allow voters to
correct mistakes, optical scan systems have lower rates of invalid
votes, optical scan ballots are inherently vote-verified, optical
scanners provide over-vote and under-vote protection, optical scan
ballots are easy to recount by hand, and optical scan ballots allow
voters to verify that they have been given the correct ballot before
they start to vote.
The paper ballot with precinct-based optical scanner system is cost
efficient because of lower equipment and election worker training
costs than other voting systems.
The experience with electronic voting or DREs (direct electronic
devices) including touch screen and ATM-like equipment has been
problematic and, in some states, disastrous. Electronic voting errors
in various counties in California, Hawaii, Ohio, Georgia, and Florida
have been documented by studies and election year results. Several
states have decided against electronic voting because of inherent
problems such as voting errors in under- and over-votes, voter
confusion, election worker confusion, and lack of an auditable paper
While lever machines are still in use throughout New York State and
there have been few, if any, problems encountered with lever machine
use, new lever machines are not being manufactured. Lever machine
voting poses problems for the disabled voters who prefer to vote in a
manner as similar to the general voting public as possible. The paper
ballot, precinct-based optical scanner, and ballot-marking device
system provide the disabled voter with the means to vote in a manner
identical to the general voting public.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2007-2008: S.1648 Referred to Election Law
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS :
None, since costs are similar to those borne now by municipalities.
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the first of December next succeeding
the date on which it shall have become a law.