Â Â Voting-rights advocates have been predicting New York would not be able to roll out new voting machines by September 2009, as ordered by federal court, but the state Board of Elections has now made it official. In its latest update to U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe, the board said it will not have enough time to complete testing and certifying voting machines (to replace its 20,000 or so mechanical-lever ones) before next yearâ€™s primary.Â Â
Â Â The Board of Elections wrote in its weekly report (July 25) that its â€œactivities and progress toward HAVA (Help America Vote Act) compliance are in jeopardyâ€¦â€ SysTest, a company hired to certify machines for the state, â€œcontinues to identify time and schedule as major constraints and risks to the successful, timely completion of the project,â€ the report said.
Â Â New York is the last state in the country to comply with HAVA, which was passed by Congress to prevent vote-counting problems in the 2000 presidential elections from happening again. The U.S. Department of Justice sued New York, and Sharpe has been closely monitoring New Yorkâ€™s progress (or lack thereof, as the case may be).
Â Â Bo Lipari, who heads New Yorkers for Verified Voting, said before the July 25 update was filed that he didnâ€™t think the deadline would be feasible. This is a July 24 posting from his blog:
Â Â â€œThe state sets the highest bar in the nation for approval of voting machines, one that vendors have never been required to meet before. Their performance in New York demonstrates that they are a long, long way from understanding that the public will not stand for poorly designed, badly tested and outrageously overpriced equipment, and a business philosophy of let the customer be damned.â€