Under the Helping America Vote Act all states are supposed to have a centralized database of all voters by Jan 1. New York is not even close, and now the Justice Dept. is suing the state for failing to do anything with the $49 million the federal government gave New York for that purpose, the Times reports.
New York was supposed to create a statewide database of registered voters by Jan. 1, but has not even come close to doing so, the lawsuit contends. And while New York has accepted more than $49 million in federal aid that is earmarked for the state to replace its old lever voting machines by this fall's elections, the state yet to come up with standards telling localities what kinds of new g machines will be acceptable. So it is impossible for most counties to buy new machines and train poll workers in time.
New York has had problems in the past but state government has moved "glacially," Times reporter Michael Cooper notes.
Civic groups have long warned that New York's aging election machines are an accident waiting to happen. During the last three mayoral elections in New York City there has been confusion over the vote tallies in either primaries or run-offs.
But efforts to modernize the system have proceeded glacially, even with the infusion of federal money. A partisan squabble over appointments at the state Board of Elections stalled efforts by the Legislature to overhaul the election system. Then, when they finally passed a law last summer, lawmakers left many of the biggest issues unresolved: they left it up to the counties to decide what kind of voting machines to buy, and to the state Board of Elections to set the standards for which types of voting machines will be acceptable.