MAYVILLE – Officials with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections are voicing their concern with a proposed law that was recently passed in the state senate. The bill would allow school districts, special districts and villages to permanently continue using lever voting machines in their respective local elections. It is currently awaiting action by the New York State Assembly.
Chautauqua County Democratic Election Commissioner Norman Green says cost of operating the main optical scan voting machines is the main reason for the proposed law. However, Green claims that the cost is actually associated with printing ballots, as two commercial print vendors in the State have a stranglehold monopoly on counties and are charging 57 cents per ballot.
Chautauqua County is one of a few counties state-wide that prints its own ballots in-house. According to Green, Chautauqua County and Erie County are now printing ballots for just 15 cents per ballots, which can result in a savings of thousands of dollars in any given election year.
In Chautauqua County, thirteen of fifteen villages have moved elections to county control and voting is being conducted on optical scan voting machines. Three of eighteen school districts have also moved voting to optical scan voting. Chautauqua County Election officials say that, if anything, new optical scan system is actually cheaper than, or at least comparable to, the cost of an election using lever machine technology.