March 2, 2006

US sues New York over voting system

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. federal government has sued
New York state to force it to modernize voting systems and
comply with a law intended to avoid repeating the confusion of
the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election.

New York's State Board of Elections expressed surprise over
the suit filed on Wednesday in federal court, saying it had
been negotiating with the U.S. Justice Department over how to
comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Those negotiations will continue in hopes of reaching a
settlement out of court, officials with the election board and
the state attorney general's office said.

New Yorkers vote with mechanical lever machines and
counters that frequently break down on election nights. The
state is also attempting to implement systems that accommodate
disabled voters.

The federal government wants the court to declare that New
York state is not in compliance with the 2002 law and to order
the state to develop a plan within 30 days on how to comply
with the law in time for November 2006 mid-term elections.

The suit also threatens to deny the state $49 million that
the federal government had provided to buy new voting machines.