Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Jack Martins joined by village mayors at a press conference announcing that their village election bill has been signed into law.
The legislation (A.3093b/S.3216) sponsored by Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel allows village governments to continue using lever voting machines as they have in the past until December 31st, 2012.
"Voting is the essential component to a democratic system of government. This new law embodies the flexibility needed to react to the new challenges of the electronic voting age. I thank the New York Conference of Mayors and all of my village mayors, who worked with myself and Senator Martins to make this new law happen. I also thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for recognizing the need for this critical legislation," said Assemblywoman Schimel.
Although current state election law, requires the use of electronic voting machines (scanner machines), they are not yet available for many villages, which is extremely problematic because of the upcoming village elections. Without this law, many villages would have been forced to either rent scan machines at an exorbitant cost or conduct their elections using paper ballots, which cost 55 cents each.
"This makes sense for our residents, saves taxpayers’ money and ensures that we preserve the integrity of our voting system while the county boards of election continue the transition to the new machines. Villages can now prepare for their upcoming elections with lever machines without having to worry about how the elections will be conducted," said Senator Martins. "As the former mayor of a village and the chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Local Government, I am sensitive to the issues facing our local governments. We should allow them to use the process they have been using for years until the scanning machines become available. I thank Assemblywoman Schimel for sponsoring the measure in the Assembly and the Governor for signing it."
"On behalf of the Nassau County Village Officials Association, I would like to thank State Senator Jack Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel for their efforts in making this critical law happen," said Mayor Marvin Natiss of the Village of North Hills & President of Nassau County Village Officials Association.
Under this measure, villages are granted the same convenience as school districts, which are already authorized to use lever voting machines through 2012.
Peter Baynes, the Executive Director of the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM), said, "Thanks to the concerted efforts of Senator Jack Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, villages throughout New York will continue to enjoy the benefits of efficient and affordable elections. Extending to villages the same authority school districts possess to utilize traditional lever-style voting machines makes sense for village voters and taxpayers. NYCOM greatly appreciates the swift response of the Assembly and Senate to this time-sensitive issue."