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May 21, 2013

City School talks voting procedures

PLATTSBURGH — Today, public school districts across the North Country are expected to conduct their budget votes and school elections in accordance with state law.

“Every aspect is guided directly by the state of New York,” Plattsburgh City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short said at a recent School Board meeting.

There, he described district voting procedures in response to a series of questions posed by Plattsburgh resident Ken Baker.

Baker had inquired about the maintenance, transport and calibration of the school’s voting machines; the supervision of voting sites; the tabulation of results; and the individuals responsible for such things, as well as their relationships to the district.

He also asked how long results are kept in case of a challenge and where challenges should be directed.

Answers to these questions, Baker said at the April meeting, “beg for the light of day.”

MACHINE CUSTODIANS

Short noted that all school districts’ budget votes and elections are run by their school boards per the requirements of state education and elections laws.

The voting machines, he said, are maintained by certified and trained board-appointed machine custodians.

The City School Board appoints the same machine custodians each year, according to Short, “because there are very few people in Clinton County that are certified and trained to use the old-fashioned voting machines that we are using.”

Those machines, the superintendent noted, are stored in a locked position and are transported to and from City School voting sites by Buildings and Grounds personnel.

“They’re quite heavy … It takes a few strong backs and a decent trailer to move them,” Short said. “When they’re moved, they’re locked (and) folded down. Once machines are delivered to the voting site, they are unlocked, examined by the machine custodian, not us, and it’s overseen by the chairperson and the other poll workers that are at each site.”

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