State should pay for voting reforms, County Leg says

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 March 2019 at 1:39 pm

File photo by Tom Rivers: Voters cast their ballots inside the Hoag Library in Albion on Nov. 4, 2014.

ALBION – The state has approved a number of proposals to expand voting access to boost one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country.

The state has approved early voting, consolidated federal and state primary dates, and Ok’d voter registration transfers and same-day voter registrations.

The challenge of managing these changes will fall on the Board of Election offices at the counties, and those BOE functions are nearly entirely paid for by county taxpayers.

The Orleans County Legislature last week approved a formal resolution, asking the state to direct funds to the counties to help pay for the added expenses, which includes opening polling sites 10 days prior to any primary or general election, starting with the 2019 general election.

The same-day registration proposal would allow eligible voters to register the day of the election. However, counties would like have to purchase and use electronic polling books and make other investments in their electronic systems, county legislators said.

The County Legislature wants the governor and the State Legislature to create a task force to determine the costs associated with the voting reforms – and those expenses should be paid for by the state, according to the county resolution.

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