B-P clerk warns of voting issues

BROADALBIN- Broadalbin-Perth Central School District Clerk Georgia Baldwin recently spoke with the Board of Education on a potential voting issue if the legislation that currently allows schools to use lever voting machines is not extended.

She said current laws allowing New York state schools to use lever voting machines will expire Dec. 31, unless they are extended by the state legislature, which leaves the district with two options if that happens.

One is the optical scan machines that are used during county elections, but purchasing the necessary equipment would be difficult, she said.

She said the estimated cost for one scan machine is about $13,000, and the special machine needed to print the ballots for the optical scanner is about $50,000, plus the additional cost of materials.

“I can’t think of a school district in this region that could afford to purchase electronic polling sites,” District Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said.

Baldwin said the Fulton County Board of Elections has the optical scan machines but isn’t willing to lend them to the district for any of their elections. She said she could also speak to other nearby election boards about the potential use of their machines.

She told the board it always has the option of reverting to paper ballots, which would be placed in a ballot box, although she said tallying paper ballots would be a difficult task on election night.

“Counting those ballots would be very tedious,” she said.

Baldwin also noted the district would have to provide enough ballots for all district voters, but not all those voters typically make it to the polls, which could create the potential for wasted resources.

Members of the board said they and others in the community need to reach out to state representatives urging the approval of a bill allowing the continued use of lever voting machines in school elections.