If your village recently held March elections, chances are the voting process was uneventful. But if not for the integrated efforts of the NCVOA and former State Senator Jack Martins and Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, it could have been a completely different outcome.
For decades, village elections were conducted with lever voting machines, rented from the Nassau County Board of Elections. In 2010, Governor Andrew Cuomo spearheaded legislation calling for the elimination of lever voting machines in favor of electronic machines. The sunset date, which had been extended twice due in large part to NCVOA efforts, was December 31, 2015.
Just prior to the sunset date, the Nassau Board of Elections had advised villages it would be incapable of providing electronic voting machines for village elections. This would have left villages in the very tenuous position of having to fend for themselves and make their own costly arrangements, or resort to paper ballot elections. From the beginning, the NCVOA viewed this as another unfunded mandate as the cost for villages to purchase these machines would have been substantial.
Since 2010, the NCVOA had been meeting and communicating with our state elected officials in Albany and locally regarding the numerous fiscal and logistical challenges the electronic voting machine legislation created for Nassau County’s villages, school districts and special districts. During this time, the NCVOA made several unsuccessful attempts to work with the Nassau County Board of Elections to resolve these issues.
In 2015, President Peter Cavallaro and the Executive Committee teamed with Senator Martins and Assemblywoman Schimel to pass legislation that included $2 million in the state budget for Nassau County to offset the cost of purchasing electronic voting machines for use by villages, school districts, and special districts. As a result, villages can rent electronic voting machines from the Nassau Board of Elections at a reasonable cost.
This issue never lost momentum, despite having several different presidents and Executive Board members involved. This is another example of the NCVOA’s vigilance on an issue critical to village operations and its value to every Nassau County village.