Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 05 November 2010 00:00
New York State’s new digital voting machines are up and running, but there are many issues involving the machines and many problems as well, according to William Biamonte, Democratic commissioner for the Nassau County Board of Elections. Mr. Biamonte addressed local public officials at the Oct. 27 Great Neck Village Officials Association meeting, bringing voting machines and voting machine technicians.
Mr. Biamonte, the sole commissioner since the county’s Republican Board of Elections commissioner recently retired, explained that the county believes that the new machines provide “a giant possibility of fraud.” He said that Nassau County is currently in court fighting over the forced use of these new machines. And he noted that the fight against these electronic voting machines is bi-partisan, with support from the Nassau County Legislature.
“Nassau County says that these new machines are a disaster,” according to Mr. Biamonte.
New York State gave the contract for the new machines to a for-profit company and the costs are extremely high.
Mr. Biamonte further explained that he has done quite a bit of research into the subject and found that electronic voting can cause a lot of problems. For example, he said that someone can easily and quickly hack in to these systems “with only some computer knowledge.”
Mr. Biamonte also noted that several studies show that these new machines are “unconstitutional.” Case law, he said, proves that the machines “violate state law in a number of ways.”
And he stated that the old, lever machines were around for 80 years and were very “reliable.” Mr. Biamonte asked: “Why do we need new ones? Why do we need all this paper?” He said that “there are no good answers.”
Mr. Biamonte went on to tell the group of elected officials that “the new machines undermine the integrity of elections.”
As well, he firmly stated that these new machines are a “financial burden for Nassau County taxpayers.” The machines are expensive and the cost of paper and machine parts is quite high, and all must be purchased from the private manufacturer.
Inspectors, too, are a problem. Mr. Biamonte said that there are always issues and problems even though the inspectors for Election Day are all “properly trained.” As for Election Day problems, the county’s Board of Elections will have helpline phone banks set up for all elections and will have teams of technicians in all areas for more technical problems.
It was noted that, at this point, it is unclear as to whether or not towns and villages and special districts will be forced to use the new voting machines.
And so, Nassau County continues to fight being forced to use the new electronic voting machines that come with such a high cost and so many issues. “It’s a long-shot, but we would be negligent if we did not do this (the lawsuits),” Mr. Biamonte stated.