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Sheriff Will Provide Security for Paper Ballots

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County Board of Elections officials assured voters Monday that any paper ballots used for Tuesday's primary election will be kept secure.

County budget cuts pushed voting back about 100 years for the primary election. About 85,000 paper ballots will be used in 13 municipalities around the county. But elections officials say votes deposited in a box will be just as safe as those tallied in voting machines. The Erie County Sheriff's department will make sure of it. But Sheriff Tim Howard says their role is fairly limited.

"Unless there's a court order to the contrary, our response will be as was requested by the two elections commissioners," Howard said. "All they have asked for at this point is that we secure the room for them. The room will only be opened in the presence of the two commissioners."

Howard says there will be a remote camera installed at the Board of Elections as an extra measure of security. Still, Howard says there aren't any police escorts for the ballots coming downtown, or anything like that. He says it's actually quite routine.

"The procedure to secure the ballots is the exact same one used to secure absentee ballots," Howard explained.

Primary elections traditionally have a much lower voter turn-out than general elections. Even so, elections officials still say it will take weeks to tally the votes after they are collected.

Adding to problems, they say that despite security precautions, challenges are likely, particularly in any close races. And that would mean even more counting.