Area School Districts Convert To Optical Scan Ballots

MAYVILLE – Forestville Central School will join three other county school districts using paper ballot optical scan voting machines for school elections, according to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections.

“We received word (recently) that Forestville has signed up to use our services,” said Brian C. Abram, Republican election commissioner. “They will be joining Cassadaga Valley, Bemus Point and Ripley as schools who have converted to the paper ballot voting process used by voters for most other elections.”

The Board of Elections estimated it will cost $328.70 for the county to run the Forestville school elections. The quote included the delivery of the optical scan voting machines, printing of Election Day ballots and absentee ballots. Also included is the programming of the voting machine, delivery of the voting machine, technical support for operation of the accessibility features allowing for special needs voters to vote without assistance.

“Other counties in New York continue to grapple with the costs associated with optical scan voting,” said Norman P. Green, Democratic election commissioner. “Chautauqua County has stepped up and driven down the price of paper ballot voting with our in-house printing operation and our elections staff changing from an office operation to a physical field operation that programs, delivers and supports county owned voting machines. Downstate boards of elections continue to struggle to deliver on time and cost effective elections and their prospective school and village partners keep looking for extensions on the date that the old mechanical lever voting machine can no longer be used by schools and villages. In Western New York, Erie County and Chautauqua County have proven that optical scan voting can be affordable and dependable.”

Green and Abram said that the advantage of paper ballot optical scan voting is that often cheaper or at least competitive pricing when compared with mechanical lever voting, the ability to recreate and prove any election by the hand counting of ballots, elimination of human errors when canvassing the election result, unassisted private voting for any voter with any disability, and Spanish language ballots for the United States born full American citizens from Puerto Rico who now live in Jamestown and Dunkirk.

In other election news, Fredonia and Falconer are looking to join Celoron in moving village elections to the November general election. The two villages have a referendum on their March village election ballot asking voters to approve the move which will eliminate all election costs now directly paid by village taxpayers.

The Board of Elections conducts the elections for 13 of the 15 county villages.