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Orleans schools make switch to optical scan voting machines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2013 at 12:00 am

The mechanical voting machine may not see another local election.

When residents vote on the school budgets in Orleans County next Tuesday, they will cast their ballots on the new optical scan machines that have been used by towns and county since 2010.

The old mechanical lever machines, technology that had been used for about a century, may have seen their last local election.

“Some of them are getting unrepairable,” said Clara Martin, a deputy election commissioner for the Orleans County Board of Elections.

The county’s voting machine technicians met with the five school districts and they reached a mutual decision to phase out the old machines for the optical scans.

The change to optical scan machines will cost Albion Central School about $1,500 more for the election. Each ballot cost 60 cents, said Shawn Liddle, Albion’s assistant superintendent for business.

The mechanical voting machines have been phased out for most elections throughout New York as part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The federal government paid most of the upfront costs for the new machines that have electronic scanners.

I hope we can keep some of the old machines around as museum pieces. I know some of the local towns have taken them to the scrap yard.