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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 debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from local school districts showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 39 students in the Herricks School District opted out of the English exam, while 74 did not take the math test. For the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, 17 students did not take the English test while 18 refused to take the math test.

At the Oct. 17 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth discussed the recent investigation of students who have been illegally attending school in the Herricks School District, despite living in outer areas. Bierwirth said that 14 prospective cases were investigated and eight students were forced to leave the district.

 

Board of Education President James Gounaris said weeding out students who are attending school in Herricks under false pretenses is boiled down to one fact: it takes away valuable resources from the children of tax-paying members of the community.


Sports

The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season. 

 

It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. 

 

Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board. 

Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week. 

 

“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said. 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 22

International Night - October 23

Halloween Dance - October 24


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