Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Tompkins/Cortland), who has been named to the Assembly’s Committee on Election Law, announced that the Assembly, Senate and governor have reached a compromise on legislation to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The agreement allows New York to receive $200 million in federal funding to modernize its voting process.
"I began my service on the Election Law Committee with a no-nonsense list of goals to achieve so that New York has a modern, effective voting system," Lifton said. "We must ensure voters aren’t purged from voter lists or disenfranchised like they were in Florida in 2000. We must have machines that work reliably and count every vote accurately and we must have strong, public oversight of our entire elections process. And voters with disabilities must have access to polling places and be able to vote on the new machines we choose."
Sitting on the Committee on Election Law, Lifton’s first votes included:
- requiring campaign finance information of certain candidates or committees to be filed on an electronic reporting system (A.6533);
- providing for input from legislative leaders on the appointment of members of the state board of elections (A.8929);
- creating a computerized voter registration and verification system (A.8930); and
- clarifying the role of the state and local Boards of Elections in the administration of elections and the care of voting machines and management of polling places (A.8931).
Lifton has sponsored several laws to improve voting in New York and aid the state’s compliance with HAVA. One law creates a statewide voter registration list (Chapter 24 of 2005) by combining existing lists maintained by local election boards. Another law Lifton sponsored would establish an administrative complaint procedure that a voter could use to ensure compliance with the HAVA reforms (Chapter 23 of 2005).
Lifton also continues to work with Assemblywoman Sandra Galef on a "Scan and Be Sure" voting machine campaign. They are advocating that paper ballots and optical scanning machines – along with an AutoMARK system for the disabled – be selected by the counties of the state. The negotiated HAVA legislation leaves the decision to individual counties concerning which voting machines will be purchased.
"Voting is the key to our democracy and we need to provide a quality system to encourage people to make their voices heard," Lifton said. "I’ll continue my work in the Assembly to give New Yorkers the best voting system available and will be keeping a careful watch on the implementation of the new machines and laws."