Port Washington, NY - Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel and Senator Jack M. Martins recently sat down with the Port Washington-Manhasset League of Women Voters to give an inside perspective on the current legislative session. At the meeting, which took place at the Port Washington Public Library, several issues were discussed including the on-time state budget, Martins' and Schimel's voting machine bill, redistricting and campaign finance reform.
Both Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel noted the early passage of the state budget, which closed a $3.5 billion deficit and provided a 4 percent increase in school aid. The state budget also restored critical funding to vital services and invested in job-creation and infrastructure programs.
A major point of discussion concerned a 2010 New York State Law that mandated the use of electronic voting machines in all elections. To help alleviate the fiscal burden that this state mandate imposed on local governments and to help preserve the democratic process, Assemblywoman Schimel and Senator Martins sponsored a state law last year which allowed for the continued use of level voting machines in municipal elections until December 31, 2012. Without this law, many local governments would have been forced to purchase expensive electronic voting machines or to conduct their elections using paper ballots, which cost 55 cents each.
Both Martins and Schimel assured residents that they were working together to advance legislation this session to extend the use of level voting machines in local government and school district elections.