New ballot system takes effect this fall

The following is a legislative column by Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski).

Election season is upon us. There have been several changes to the voting process this year, starting with a new way to cast votes. The machines have changed; our state has advanced to optical scanning devices. Voters will use a paper ballot and feed the ballot into the scanning device. These scanners have replaced the old lever-style voting machines, largely because of the pesky and infamous "hanging chad" debacle which occurred in Florida following the Presidential election of 2000 and held up federal election results.

Following this incident, federal laws were changed and the country embarked on an expansive and costly undertaking to replace the old voting machines. During the last election, many voters began to see the new machines as they were being phased in. This year, all counties will be equipped with the new optical scanners.

As a result of the new machines, polling sites for many voters have changed. Counties have had to consolidate polling sites. In Oswego County alone, polling places for 26 voting districts have changed. A list can be found on the county's web site at http://www.co.oswego.ny.us/info/news/2010/072610-3.html. In Onondaga County, the county web site features a user-friendly tool that enables voters to search their address and determine where to go to vote. This can be accessed at http://ntsdata.dnsalias.com/onondagaboe/. If you're uncertain after visiting these websites or do not have access to the internet, I encourage you to call your county board of elections to verify your polling site to save yourself time and hassle on Election Day. The Oswego County Board of Elections phone number is 315-349-8683. Election officials in Onondaga County can be reached at 315-435-8683.

On Election Day (Nov. 2), here is what voters can expect:

1. Check in with an election inspector and receive a ballot to take to a booth for privacy.

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