Election rules prove expensive

ELIZABETHTOWN The Essex County Election Commissioners had bad news for the county board the county elections were going to cost an unanticipated $41,000. Republican Commissioner Lewis Sanders and Democratic Commissioner David Mace addressed the Public Safety Committee on April 9, handing over a summary of unbudgeted expenses. The cost arise from the use of lever machines, which were supposed to be phased out this year. New York State has been sued by the federal government for its slow compliance with HAVA (Help America Vote Act). The state assembly has yet to decide on which electronic voting machines to endorse. The additional expenses come from the cost of having to purchase ballots for the machine at $14,162, rent and supplies for the lever machines at $3,500, a $8,113 refresher course for the custodians, and $9,573 for election coordinators. Mace explained that the county had $17,199 set aside as the countys five percent match for the new electronic machines, which was unlikely to be used this year. The money could be used to help offset the additional costs, but there was a small chance that the state might ask for it later in the year. Mace said it was likely that lever machines, would have to be used in the 2008 Presidential Primary, which has been moved up to February 2008. Sanders said he didnt believe electronic machines would be in use until 2009. Sanders said it was likely that the election would have to use Plan B for handicapped voting, setting up an electronic machine located in the county election department. Another issue is the training of the custodians for the machines. The county was de-certified for the custodians, and the commissioners wanted to send the custodians to a refresher course. Moriah Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava was critical of the plan to retrain custodians. Since the course wasnt mandated, he didnt want to spend the money to send 14 custodians for training. Committee Chairman Dale French of Crown Point said that no action was needed this month, although he asked the commissioners to bring the matter back when they needed additional money. county election sticker shock Essex County Election Commissioners Lewis Sanders and David Mace explain the problems associated with holding elections. Due to the states inaction on complying with the federal HAVA law, the county will face an additional $40,000 in unbudgeted election fees.

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