[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] Thursday sued [DOJ press release] the state of New York for violating the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) [text] by not developing voting systems that enable disabled voters easier access to cast their ballots and by not implementing a statewide computerized voter registration database. HAVA, which was passed in 2002, gave states three years to comply with the law's regulations and New York was one of numerous states that did not meet the set deadline [JURIST report] of January 1, 2006. The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division [official website] has asserted that it visited states in order to assess their HAVA implementation efforts and repeatedly requested that New York voluntarily come into compliance.
The government's suit, which follows an earlier threat to sue the state [JURIST report], alleges that the state accepted $221 million to aid in the mandated changes, including over $49 million to replace New York's current lever voting machines, but that the state did not use the money to meet the law's provisions. If New York does not update its machines by the September 2006 primary elections, it could lose the funding. The complaint, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of New York [official website], petitions the court to order the state to submit a plan on how it will come into compliance with the voter law. Read the DOJ press release.