In 2002, the federal government passed sweeping election reform designed to enhance the voting process throughout the country. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires all states to meet minimum standards for voting systems and for the administration of the electoral process, from voter registration to the casting of the ballot.
As a consequence of the implementation of the HAVA requirements, New York State has replaced the lever machines that had been used in prior years with a new machine. The following is a brief overview of the new machine and voting process to smooth the transition of this change.
Queens County has selected the DS200 ballot scanner to read and tabulate your paper ballots. The DS200 Ballot Scanner system is a portable electronic voting system that uses an optical scanner to read marked paper ballots and tally the results. This system allows for paper ballots to be immediately tabulated at your polling site. The DS200 also notifies you of any voting errors. You will be able to immediately correct these errors to ensure that Your Vote Counts!
Using the paper ballot
Here is the general process used for completing your paper ballot before scanning it. After checking in at your polling site, an inspector will provide you with a paper ballot and a privacy sleeve. The privacy sleeve is used to shield your completed ballot from view. You will also receive a special marking pen to use to complete your ballot. Make sure you only use this pen when completing your ballot. The ballot scanner may not correctly register your vote choices made with any other pen. You will be directed to a booth or area where you can complete your ballot in privacy. If you haven’t voted before with the paper ballot, make sure to ask the inspector for a demonstration. BOE inspectors are trained to show you how to fill in the ballot and process it on the scanner and are always happy to help. The paper ballot has voting instructions, office titles, candidates, and/or issues for this election printed on both sides. Make sure to mark every contest by completely filling in the oval to the upper right to the name of the candidate or issue of your choice. Do not use an “x” or other notation. The marking pen is not erasable, so do not try to erase or cross out a choice after it has been made. Do not make stray marks on the ballot. You should also avoid rolling or folding the ballot. If you make a mistake, or damage the ballot, return it to the inspector for a replacement. Be aware that a limited amount of replacement ballots are allowed. You can also include write in candidates. Fill in the oval next to the words write in and write the candidate’s name on the line. After voting, insert the ballot into the privacy sleeve. The inspector will direct you to the DS200 Scanner.
Once your ballot is completed, it is time to scan it. Scanning your ballot in the DS200 ballot scanner is easy, but remember, if you need assistance, don’t hesitate to ask your inspector. Many elections provide on screen messages in multiple languages. In this case, select the language of your choice by touching the corresponding button on the display screen. The ballot may be inserted into the ballot slot in any orientation. If you have any questions regarding your ballot, please ask your inspector BEFORE inserting your ballot into the DS200. After inserting your ballot, check the display screen to see if there are any error messages. If the ballot message is “blank ballot” or “over-voted ballot,” press “don’t cast, return” on the touch screen to get the ballot back to make changes. If you’d like to submit your ballot as is, press the “cast ballot” button. If the ballot is damaged and not accepted by the scanner, return it to the inspector for a replacement. To complete the process and cast your ballot, press the “cast ballot” button. The display screen notifies you when your ballot has been cast successfully. Your ballot is stored in a secured ballot box.
If you have any questions about this new process, please feel free to contact the Board of Elections at 718-730-6730 or 866-VOTE-NYC.
Assemblyman Hevesi, in conjunction with OutToPlay, Inc., and the NYC Department of Education, will soon complete the renovation and building of a new playground at PS 144 in Forest Hills, the result of Assemblyman Hevesi securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for this state of the art playground. The completely repaved schoolyard now has a baseball diamond, two full basketball courts, a one mile track, new playground equipment for children who attend the school, and a separate playground for the community that will remain open to the public in the evenings and on the weekends. In addition, the new facility has a shaded sitting area for parents, benches surrounding the entire schoolyard, and even fixed chess tables. The original handball wall that has been a fixture in the schoolyard has been maintained.
“This playground is a central point for the residents of Forest Hills and has not been renovated for decades. The parents and children of this neighborhood will now have a state of the art facility, which will help kids stay active, foster a healthy lifestyle, and add to the already strong sense of community in Forest Hills,” said Assemblyman Hevesi. “I am proud to have played a role in this project, which will provide better facilities for the children and parents in our community.”
In an effort to crack down on an underground industry engaged in the theft and resale of multiple bicycles and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods, Assemblyman Hevesi authored and passed several pieces of legislation this year designed to address this growing problem.
The New York City Department of Planning estimates that over 70,000 bicycles are stolen in the five boroughs every year, which breaks down to the theft of approximately 191 bicycles each day in the City of New York. There are also reports of increased bicycle theft throughout the state, including multiple cases where bikes have been stolen and disassembled for parts similar to chop shops that traffic in stolen car parts.
Under current law, possession of multiple stolen bicycles can only be charged as a misdemeanor, unless the aggregate value of the recovered property is more than $1000, and the stolen bikes were taken from a single owner. This outdated law places an onerous burden on prosecutors and fails to effectively punish individuals that repeatedly steal multiple bicycles and perpetuate the illegal resale market.
The New York City Department of Planning estimates that over 70,000 bicycles are stolen in the five boroughs every year, which breaks down to the theft of approximately 191 bicycles each day in the City of New York.
Bike registries, including the National Bicycle Registry, are designed to assist law enforcement in their efforts to recover and return stolen bicycles to their owners. Registered bikes are also used by prosecutors as proof of stolen property in theft cases. While these programs are effective, only a small number of bicycle owners are aware of these registries.
Assembly bill A.9447-A
Passed by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, this bill makes the possession of four or more stolen bicycles a class E felony, which increases penalties and eases the burden for prosecutors who handle these cases. This bill will serve as a deterrent and a just punishment for criminals who currently operate with little regard for the consequence of committing this crime in our communities.
Assembly bill A.9407-A
Passed by Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, this bill requires all retailers selling bicycles to post a notice informing consumers about the National Bicycle Registry and locally affiliated registries, the purpose of bicycle registration, and information from the Consumer Protection Board’s theft prevention educational campaign and the Consumer Protection Board contact information.
Station Square in Forest Hills
Built in 1906 and rebuilt in 1911, the station is the only one in the LIRR system not to have standard blue and white signage. Instead, there are plaques and historic style signage within and around the station that complement the architecture of the stationhouse and the surrounding area. On July 4, 1917, former President Theodore Roosevelt made his “Unification Speech” from the steps of this station.
Assemblyman Hevesi is honored to be able to contribute to the maintanence and upkeep of this beautiful and historic Square in our neighborhood. His staff is coordinating with the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation and the City of New York to ensure that this project is completed in 2011.
Helped a local parent get their child’s Medicaid benefits restored so that the child could continue receiving home health care.
Assisted seniors submit applications for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE).
Won funds for tenants of a large rent-regulated building who had been over-charged for Major Capital Improvements (MCI).
Worked to reinstate the unemployment benefits and win retroactive pay for a local resident after they were wrongly terminated by the Department of Labor.
Resolved a dispute between a consumer and a prescription drug company that wrongly billed the consumer for drugs and medical supplies they neither ordered nor needed.
Legislative E-mail Program
In addition to my office’s existing programs, I ask you to take advantage of our Legislative E-mail program: the easiest way to interact with myself and my staff regarding policy in New York State. Thousands of our community’s residents receive these e-mails, request additional bill information, and register their support or opposition to legislation. Simply put, my Legislative E-mail Program allows me to gain your insight and valuable input on pending legislation. If you would like to participate, please contact my office at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again, and please do not hesitate to call me if can be of assistance.
STOP Graffiti Program
Residents of our community are encouraged to call our graffiti hotline so my office can coordinate free clean up of that site. Before the site is cleaned, each location will be photographed by my staff to assist in the prosecution of the vandals by the Queens County District Attorney’s office and local precincts. This is already a successful program, and I urge all my fellow residents to use this vital service as we all do our part to beautify our community.
Senior Medical ID Card
These FREE cards assist seniors and medical personnel in the event of an accident or emergency. Basic information includes name, address, and phone number of emergency contact person, blood type, and list of medical conditions and current medical conditions.