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Counties brace for new voting machines

The state had failed to meet the 2006 deadline.

A federal lawsuit was then brought against New York by the Department of Justice and the state was forced into compliance by selecting and certifying the types of machines each county could choose. They invariably led to more lawsuits as vendors and voting machine manufactures who were left of the list sued the state.

In the end, counties were given the option of an optical scanner and direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting devices for the 2009 elections.

The state's board of elections has begun taking orders for new voting machines and is still receiving federal funds in order to purchase the machines, but some problems have been reported on the new voting machines.

Bill Biamonte, Election Commissioner of Nassau County, the second largest Board of Elections in the state, that serves over 870,000 voters, wrote a letter to US District Judge Gary Sharpe on June 26. The letter to Sharpe, who was the judge that ordered New York State to complete its HAVA implementation by 2009, Biamonte reported that Nassau County was experiencing high failure rates they're finding in the systems they've received.

of the 156 BMDs (Ballot Marking Devices) received by Nassau through June 26, 2008 after the SBOE (State Board of Elections) acceptance tested them in Albany " have substantial operational flaws that render them unusable or that require major repairs," Biamonte wrote. "Twenty-nine were rejected immediately when they were unloaded from the truck because of obvious physical defects or damages, such as a broken side of the printer. Sixty-two failed diagnostic testing because of problems with the USB cord and the printer. And 42 failed Nassau's acceptance testing for a variety of reasons, such as non-responsive keypads and battery failure. Out of a total of 156 BMDs, only 23 can be used by voters in the condition they were received in."

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