Sunday, March 8, 2009

Schuyler vote machine conversion costs more. Why not stick with levers?

ORLEANS PARISH, LA  - NOVEMBER 7:  Voters stan...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Do you know anyone in Schuyler County? Do you know Schuyler County Executive Timothy O'Hearn or Legislator Dennis Fagan? Or anyone else in a leadership position? Call them. Email them. The time is ripe for them to take a stand.

The Schuyler County Legislature is considering two resolutions Monday night related to the exorbitant cost of implementing optical scanner voting machines. Although they, too, wish they could keep their lever machines, they seem to have accepted the change as a fait accomplis. We need to reach them with the message that other counties have decided to fight the change.

They've already spent $193,000 for machines that have yet to be certified and will never be secure. Now, they're learning about the additional, on-going costs.
Schuyler vote machine conversion costs more | | Star-Gazette: "Fagan and O'Hearn said counties initially were led to believe that federal funds would cover all costs. Now, counties are finding out local taxpayers may have to pay for the software necessary to program the ballots. That expense could be upwards of $100,000.

Fagan said counties asked the state for permission to share the software. The request was denied, he said, 'and vendors see no reason to cooperate with us.'

Schuyler also requested to have a single, central location for a voting machine accessible to disabled voters. That, too, was denied, and one machine was purchased for each of the county's 17 polling places.

Those machines were available for use in the November election, but not one was used, officials said.

'This whole thing is a huge joke,' Fagan said. 'It's costing the counties and towns thousands of dollars needlessly. It's very frustrating.'

The Help America Vote Act, known as HAVA, was enacted by Congress in October 2002 to help states replace antiquated voting systems and ensure access for disabled voters.

Schuyler County officials have said they would have preferred to keep the county's lever machines. Those machines probably will be used again in elections this year, Fagan said."
Well, the public sentiment to rescind ERMA and keep our levers grows as the price tag to implement op scanners grows.

Isn't this a budget cut we could all get behind?
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