Legislators joined disability and voting advocates at a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 13 in Albany to call for an end to the use of lever voting machines in local elections. Although lever voting machines have been replaced in most elections in New York since the implementation of the Help America Vote Act in 2002, many are still in use in village, school district, and other local elections due to repeated extensions by the state Legislature. Some local municipalities and schools prefer to use lever machines because some do not own newer voting machines and must borrow or rent them from the Board of Elections or pay a private company to conduct their elections using more modern voting machines. But advocates say voters with visual, mobility and cognitive disabilities are unable to use the lever machines privately, needing the assistance of a caretaker or poll worker to help them vote.
“Enough is enough. We begin this legislative session with a clear message that the sunset must not be extended again,” said Cliff Perez, systems advocate for the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley. “Any vote to do so is a vote to maintain discriminatory voting practices against voters with disabilities and seriously undermines our democracy.”
Aimee Allaud, an elections specialist with the league of Women Voters, says the use of different voting machines for different types of elections can be confusing to voters. “[We] belive the goals of the Help America Vote Act are best achieved when a single statewide voting system is used for all classes of elections,” she said.
Full Article: Disabled hope to retire lever voting machines for good.