Lawsuit against new voting machines

A new lawsuit claims that new electronic voting machines scheduled to be used by voters this fall have a design flaw.

The lawsuit, by the New York University-based Brennan Center for Justice, claims the machines allow voters to accidentally pick more than one candidate for a particular race. The error, known as "over-voting", invalidates the entire ballot and advocates worry that those who don't speak English well or are confused by the new machines could unfairly have their votes invalidated. The complaint says that the flaw could lead to the exclusion of thousands of votes.

Onondaga County Board of Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggins says the county has spent close to $3.5 million making sure the new electronic voting machines work properly and were used in 13 towns around the county last year without any problems. "We had to do an audit for 75% of the ballots to see if they were properly read, they were. We have to do another audit next year so we are confident the machines are working the way they are supposed to," she says.

The Onondaga County Board of Elections will send out informational flyers on the new voting machines in August. The machines will be used by all voters in the state in the upcoming September primaries.

The suit represents a number of advocacy groups, including the NAACP and Working Families Party. The groups say that non-native English speakers would lose their votes in disproportionate numbers.

The State Board of Elections said a trial run of the machines upstate last year produced no major problems.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.