Voting changes pondered by B-P board

BROADALBIN – The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District has begun looking at its options for what will happen if the district can no longer use its current voting machines.

Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said it has been made clear to the district this is the last year lever-style voting machines can be used.

The current state law that allows school districts to use the lever machines is set to expire Dec. 31. If the law expires, districts have two options: they can use paper ballots and a ballot box or they can use optical scan voting machines.

“It is a very expensive requirement that we are facing,” Tomlinson said.

District clerk Georgia Baldwin said she has been in contact with a clerk from a Binghamton area school district that went with the paper ballots.

Paper-style ballots would likely be time consuming to count, she said. One option to help make up for the counting time would be to shorten the voting time, Baldwin said, something the Binghamton area school district did.

Baldwin said she has fought to have the district go paperless, including giving the poll workers laptops for election night, but now would have to hand out paper ballots at polling sites.

Baldwin said to go with the optical scanners, the district would need two $13,000 voting machines, one for each voting location. In addition, the district would also need another $50,000 machine that would print the ballots. She said the district could also try and see if the Fulton County Board of Elections would print the ballots for them.

She said the Fulton County Board of Elections has refused requests to let the district use its optical voting machines.

Board members asked if a letter could be drafted formally asking the county Board of Elections to let the district use two machines on election day.