The Suffolk County Board of Elections certified electronic voting machines that met the standards of the federal voting machine mandate in 2009 and will begin using them for the 2010 elections.
Tom Knoble, assistant to Commissioner Cathy Geier, said federal law mandated that electronic voting machines be used after the presidential election in 2000. New York state followed with their own law in 2005. Suffolk County had not certified machines that met those standards until 2009.
The current voting machines – traditional lever machines – are still being used for district elections, at this point in time, Knoble said. District elections include school budget, and fire and water district votes, Knoble said. Commack utilized these machines for the vote on the Marion Carll Farm.
The board of elections will arrange for the contracting of voting sites – many within the Commack Union Free School District buildings – and then will transport the new machines to the sites for the primary elections in September and for the regular elections in November, Knoble said.
Dominion makes these optical scanners, although the state calls them tabular machines, Knoble said. The voter is provided with a piece of paper – identical to the new absentee ballots – and is directed to a private voting booth, which provides the proper pen to fill out the ballot. Ballots are then fed into the machine and read.
Each of Suffolk County's 350 polling stations are also equipped with a ballot marking machine, created by Dominion, to provide an unassisted voting experience for handicapped voters.