A state plan to allow motorists to register to vote electronically at the DMV — and eventually online — has triggered sharp push-back from local elections officials who fear it will make it harder to detect voter fraud. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration says those fears, which center largely on the use of digital signatures, are based on a fundamentally flawed understanding of how the process would work at state Department of Motor Vehicle sites. State and good-government groups contend the changes streamline the registration process and have been proved elsewhere as cheaper, more user-friendly and accurate. Despite the claims, elections officials in Albany County, which is to be a pilot site for the program expected to fully roll out next year, say they won’t accept the electronic registrations — even as the Cuomo administration argues that state law gives them no choice.
“I think that it opens the door for fraud, plain and simple,” said Rachel Bledi, the county Republican elections commissioner. Bledi and Matthew Clyne, her Democratic counterpart, question whether state election law permits electronic signatures. Even if it did, the commissioners say they believe the quality of the signatures will make it more difficult to spot forgeries at the polls. “When we go to court, the election law is clear that we need a real signature,” Republican Rensselaer County Elections Commissioner Larry Bugbee said. “I don’t see how anyone can agree to do it when it clearly violates the election law.” If nothing else, at a time when voter registration is taking center stage in a presidential election year, anxiety about New York’s plans would seem to underscore significant confusion among the local officials who will be charged with carrying it out.
Full Article: Risks of the digital dotted line – Times Union.