Denenberg & legislators empower Nassau County to get involved with Voting Act lawsuit
Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) and his fellow majority lawmakers this week introduced a resolution empowering the Nassau County Attorney to support a lawsuit with Suffolk County to block a federal ruling that requires counties to buy new voting machines by next September. Suffolk County started a lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections last month, stating that the state’s Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005 would unnecessarily force counties to spend millions of dollars on new voting systems.
The resolution, which went before the Legislature’s Rules Committee, received unanimous, bipartisan support.
The federal government’s Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that all voting machines and many of the voting procedures make voting easier, verifiable and more accessible to all residents. While some interpret this to mean that traditional “lever” voting machines be replaced by electronic or optical scan voting machines, Denenberg believes that federal and state do not necessarily require counties to replace traditional lever machines.
“I am pleased that we will be working with the County Attorney on both an amicus brief to support the Suffolk County lawsuit and pursuing a separate strategy at the Federal level,” Denenberg said. “It is critical that Nassau County have the time to comply with the federal HAVA law. We must make sure to have voting systems that are secure, efficient and affordable. Our participation in these lawsuits will go a long way towards ensuring that outcome.”
In addition, he says, while the federal government has promised funding for the new technology, it's not clear how much will be reimbursed.
Legislator Denenberg will be holding a community meeting on the Future of Nassau County’s Voting Machines this Monday, November 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Mepham High School, 2401 Camp Avenue in Bellmore. This meeting will give the community an opportunity to learn about the machines that are being considered by New York State for certification. Under HAVA, our Nassau County Election Commissioners will be choosing the machines Nassau County will use in the next elections from a list of state certified machines. Voting machine vendors will be discussing their products and members from the League of Women Voters and Long Island Progressive Coalition will be talking about the pros and cons of both DRE (direct recording electronic) machines and PBOS (paper ballot optical scanners). A question and answer period will follow the presentation.