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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

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District is planning improvements to a district that has already seen much success in recent years. The school year has only just begun and the Board of Ed is already setting its sights on the future. 

 

At the Sept. 8 board of education meeting, Superintendent Robert Katulak’s monthly report outlined the major goals set for the district last month. While approved in August, the three goals were made available to the public this month and each target different areas for improvement throughout the district. 

 

The first goal deals with English Language Learners (ELL) within the student population. ELL students are those that speak a language other than English at home and score below proficient on assessments. 

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.


Sports

Sewanhaka boys soccer coach Peter Burgess wasn’t sure how long his team’s playoff drought was when it was broken last season. 

 

“Somebody said it was 13 years,” said Burgess, whose entering his fourth year coaching varsity. “But I think it was five or six, I don’t know maybe longer.”

 

But one thing’s for certain, he wants to keep last year’s momentum going. 

 

The Indians, who started their season with a 3-0 loss at Hewlett, will aim for their second straight trip to the playoffs this year. 

The Sewanhaka Indians made their Nassau Conference II debut with a bang.  The Indians opened their season at home against the Calhoun Colts, unsure what to expect, as all they had ever seen of the Colts was one tape of a scrimmage. 

 

“It was nerve raking leading up to the game,” said Head Coach George Kasimatis. “We weren’t sure what to expect on offense or defense, you have to guess early on. “

 

But it didn’t take the Indians long to introduce themselves to the conference, as junior, Quarterback, Elijah Tracey broke a 75-yard run taking it the distance to put the Indians up early, which ended in a 27-7 rout of the Colts. 


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

Herricks Meeting - September 18

Bike Safety Day - September 21


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