NY contemplates pushing back voting switch to 2009

State pushes back choice on kind of machine several months, meaning one of the last states to update machines may push decision back until 2009

New voting machines for New York this year? Fuhgedaboud it. How about for the 2008 presidential election? Uhm, maybe not. 2009? Could be.

That's the not very hopeful news from New York as elections officials look at replacing their voting machines, reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

For a state that already trails the other 49 states in meeting federal election standards and is under court order to speed up the process, New York remains far from replacing all of its 200,000 lever machines with a computerized voting system.

The state was supposed to tell counties which machines they can use this week, but on Tuesday delayed the decision until May, all but guaranteeing that no new machines will go into service this yeaar.

"At this point, it's all but official that it can't happen this year," said Bo Lipari, executive director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting.

"You don't want do it fast, you want to do it right," Lipari said.

How fast is too fast? Even 2008 maybe too fast for New York.

Some county elections officials to lobby for 2009 as the startup time, fearing new machines in a critical presidential election will create serious problems and accusations that the election is fatally flawed.

Already, Nassau County is asking a federal judge to push back the deadline in New York to 2009. And Monroe County officials say 2009 may make the most sense.

The US Justice Dept. sued New York last year because the state was so slow and has threatened to demand back some of the $220 million it gave New York for new machines. The department would have to approve a request to push the deadline back even furtherin implementing the changes.

"Our goal is to work out a plan with Justice on what we know now is a reasonable solution," said Robert Brehm, a spokesman for the state elections board.

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