May 24, 2016 -- The cost to taxpayers for conducting the May 17 Budget Vote and Trustees Election more than quadrupled over last year's election, said North Shore School District officials. The increase is a result of the expiration of an exemption granted to school districts, many municipalities, and some special districts that had allowed those jurisdictions to forgo using the optical scan machines in favor of the lever voting machines that had been used for most of last century.
Some costs this year, the District said, are one time expenditures, such as the booths that offer "privacy" while voting. However, the cost of the scannable ballots alone was $1600, as opposed to $100 for the strip that recorded votes in the old machines.
"The problem," said one District official, "is that because you don't know what actual voter turn-out is going to be, you don't know exactly how many ballots to order."
Additionally, renting the new machines from the Nassau County Board of Elections costs nearly double what it had for the draped machines that not only provided the solitude that exercising the elective franchise deserves, but also the satisfying soft click as one pulls down the switch for the candidate of choice and the equally gratifying heaving of the lever that opened the curtain and put the exclamation point on having performed one's civic duty.
The transition to the new machines was triggered by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, that was passed by Congress in the wake of the 2000 Presidential election turmoil. While state and federal elections have for a number of years now used the optical scanning machines, state legislation had extended authorization for school districts, villages and some other voting jurisdictions to continue using lever machines.
In 2014, New York State Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and Assembly Member Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) introduced legislation that would permanently authorize school districts to use lever voting machines.
Obviously, the legislation did not pass.
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Costs for Conducting North Shore School District
Budget Vote and Trustees Election
* One time expenditure or may vary from year to year.