Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

Lever Voting Machines Hang On

Hope springs eternal for local municipalities that have been fighting for permission to continue using the reliable “old-fashioned” mechanical lever voting machines. The new electronic machines that Congress mandated for federal elections a few years ago would be extremely costly for villages, school districts and special districts to purchase or rent. In fact, in some cases it might be impossible for a small village to even rent a new electronic voting machine. 

 

Republican New York State Senator Jack Martins and Democratic State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel successfully joined forces to push through legislation that will now allow villages, school districts and special districts to continue using mechanical voting machines for an additional year. Twice before the two legislators worked together to push through similar extensions.

 

Without this bill, local governments and school districts would be forced to purchase or rent electronic voting machines at an exorbitant cost or use paper ballots in conducting their local, non-partisan elections. The legislation also paves the way for a permanent solution to address the problems that have hindered the ability of localities to transition to electronic voting machines. 

 

“Allowing schools, villages and special districts to continue to use lever-style voting machines will help them save money and conduct elections with fair and accurate outcomes,” said Martins, the Senate sponsor of the legislation. “These are non-partisan elections with small voter turnouts, completely different from a regular general election ... and need to be treated that way.” Extending this exemption, he said, “will deliver real relief to our schools and local governments.”

 

Schimel sponsored the bill in the Assembly. “This legislation ensures that the democratic process in non-partisan elections will go forward while the State Board of Elections (BOE) develops solutions to ease

localities’ transition to electronic voting machines,” she said. “For the first time, we are putting the government’s feet to the fire by forcing the BOE to consider the fiscal and resource impact of its recommendations on local governments and school districts.”

 

The Help America Vote Act required states to adopt new voting machines in federal elections, and in implementing the Act, New York chose to mandate the use of new electronic machines for all elections.

This has proven costly to local governments. 

 

This legislation will extend the current exemption allowing school districts and localities to use lever-style voting machines until Dec. 31, 2015. Additionally, the New York State BOE is required to conduct a report on the administration of elections by villages, school districts and special districts. The bill requires the BOE to take into consideration recommendations proposed by various stakeholders, such as the

New York State School Boards Association, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, the New York State Conference of Mayors, and the New York State Association of Counties. The report, which must be submitted to the Governor and State Legislature by Jan. 31, 2015, must include recommendations and guidance to localities on how to transition to electronic voting systems. 

 

The report must also include an analysis of the cost and fiscal impact of these solutions on local governments and school districts.  


News

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com