When New York made its long drawn out phase away from ancient lever machines to electronic voting machines, it opted for a system of paper ballots counted using optical scanners. Among the main benefits of a paper ballot system, is the ability to have paper trail in case there is a need for a recount. The only problem seems to be that Albany forgot to tell us when there is a need for a recount.
As Celeste Katz at Daily News points out, there are no mandatory recount laws under New York State Election Law. The problems of the vagueness of this law were highlighted last week. Trailing by 15 votes, Frank Skartados conceded the 100 Assembly District race to Tom Kirwan. As the article points out, a hand recount of the ballots will likely reveal numerous discrepancies of how the optical scanners recorded voters’ choices on the paper ballots -- certainly more than 15. Unfortunately, we will never know.
The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of this race could have only been cleared up by examining the ballots themselves. What is the point in having paper ballots when we are unable to look at the results? Without rules for mandatory recounts, in this respect New York Election Law still remains in the dark ages of the lever machines. Legislators in Albany must make the necessary changes in Election Law that will create rules for mandatory recounts.