Legislation Will Help Ensure Accurate and Fair Elections

June 21, 2007

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WFP-Tompkins/Cortland) announced the passage of legislation she authored to extend the life of an independent committee established to advise the state about modernizing its voting machines – helping ensure fair, accurate elections (A.5804).

“As the state continues to seek reliable voting machines which meet New York’s high standards as well as Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirements, it is vital that this committee continues to meet,” Lifton said. “Buying new voting machines is a huge investment and we must make sure we invest properly.”

Under the federal Help America Vote Act, New York is required to phase out nearly 20,000 lever machines and replace them with new technology accessible to people with disabilities, a project that will potentially cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Lifton’s legislation would extend the life of the Citizens’ Election Modernization Advisory Committee, until July 1, 2010. The measure would enable CEMAC to continue advising the state Board of Elections on voting machine certification. The board would take the committee’s recommendations into consideration when determining whether a voting machine meets HAVA requirements.

Members of the Citizens’ Election Modernization Advisory Committee include Lifton, who was appointed by the Assembly, one member appointed by the Senate, the co-executive directors of the State Board of Elections, and four local board of election commissioners. The remaining members of the committee are from disability rights’ organizations, including a representative from the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and a representative from the Disabled American Veterans. Also included on the committee is a representative of the New York State League of Women Voters.

“The committee can help ensure that voters are able to cast their ballots on machines that are reliable and count every vote accurately – which will ensure voter confidence in the fairness of our elections,” Lifton said. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill immediately to help give New Yorkers the best voting system possible.”