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Rice Bill Creates Voting Booth Solution

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, which would permit the use of lever voting machines for nonpartisan elections on May 9th without having to implement the federally mandated electronic machines, was unanimously approved by the full Senate today.

“Federal law required the purchase of new electronic voting machines by the end of last year,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Essex County received 700 touch-screen voting machines that comply with the federal requirements. Since Essex County received their machines, there have been concerns raised about having sufficient time to teach both voters and poll workers on the machines.

“I want to be sure that when voters enter the polls on May 9th, they feel comfortable doing their civic duty and my measure will provide that assurance,” Senator Rice said.

The bill, S-459, would allow any municipality that holds regular municipal elections, annual school board elections and municipal run-off elections for public office to use voting machines purchased before January 1, 2006.

Senator Rice stated that, “This measure does not affect the federal election rules that mandated electronic voting booths.

“I know that by allowing the old machines to be used through May we’ll have smoother elections this spring,” said Senator Rice. “My bill will alleviate the fear that the training of poll workers will be rushed and cause problems at the polls.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for enactment.

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