Erie County owned approximately 1,000 obsolete lever voting machines when it was required to replace them with electronic machines in 2010. So what happened to the steel machines that weighed about 700 pounds each? All but 10 of the voting machines used for a nearly a century in Erie County were sold for scrap, said Ralph M. Mohr, Erie County’s Republican elections commissioner. Today, four of the 10 machines remain in storage on the sixth floor of Tri-Main Center at 2495 Main St. Another is located in the office of County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, said Daniel E. Meyer, deputy press secretary. Mohr said he bought another for $600 when he took the job as elections commissioner more than two decades ago.
County officials could not say how much the scrapped machines were sold for, Meyer said.
“They were very reliable,” Mohr said. “Their working mechanism never changed. Very few states used the lever voting machines. Of the three companies who made them nationwide, two were in Jamestown.”
Last used in New York State for the mid-term elections of 2010, the lever voting machine was a fascinating device with gears, pins, straps and bands. The machine was indestructible, used by generations of citizens who voted with the turn of some levers, the throw of a bar and that reassuring clang of a registered ballot.