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NEW YORK STATE

NY advocates seek state ban on all-in-one voting machines

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Election Day

Residents cast their vote at Memorial City Hall in Auburn on Election Day 2021.

Good government groups and elected officials, including New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, are urging the state Legislature to pass a ban on all-in-one voting machines. 

All-in-one voting machines are equipped with a printer and scanner or tabulator. The touch-screen machines allow voters to cast their ballots electronically instead of filling out a paper ballot. 

But there are numerous concerns about the all-in-one machines. Common Cause New York issued a report in 2020 about ExpressVote XL, one type of all-in-one voting machine available for election administrators. The report detailed problems with the ExpressVote XL machine, from cybersecurity vulnerabilities — the machines "do not leave a secure paper trail," according to Common Cause — to price. The ExpressVote XL costs almost $10,000 per unit, the report says. 

Other issues include long lines on Election Day because there will be fewer all-in-one voting machines than privacy booths for voters and the machines are prone to undercounting votes. In one race in Pennsylvania, a candidate had 164 votes on election night. But a manual recount was conducted and the candidate wound up with more than 26,000 votes — enough to win the election. 

Legislation introduced by state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who chairs the Senate Elections Committee, and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin would ban the use of all-in-one voting machines. The state Senate passed the bill in 2021 and is expected to approve it again this year. It has not advanced to the Assembly floor for a vote. 

Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, asked lawmakers to act fast and pass the ban on all-in-one voting machines. 

"They are wasteful, insecure and deeply flawed machines," Lerner said. "Our current system is already the current gold standard: Voter-marked paper ballots and optical scanners. Any one-in-all voting machine would be a serious — and expensive — needless step backward."

Williams, who is seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, called for New York City and the state to ban the machines. 

"These hybrid voting machines are expensive, inaccessible, and risky, and we cannot allow them to be used in New York elections," he said. 

The state Board of Elections has already weighed in on all-in-one voting machines, specifically the ExpressVote XL model. Last year, the board declined to certify the machine for use in New York elections. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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