NEW YORK: The municipal Board of Elections is working with Burson-Marsteller on a $6.5 million voter awareness campaign to educate New York residents about new voting machines.
Burson will assist the independent agency in reaching voters, many of whom have used different voting machines for most of their lives, said Marcus Cederqvist, the board's executive director.
New York's election board, under federal mandate from the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), is replacing traditional lever-based voting machines in every precinct for the city's 2009 municipal elections, Cederqvist said.
“What Burson is going to be doing is helping us with a public information campaign and helping in the public outreach, so hopefully every voter knows about it in advance of going to vote next year,” he said. “We don't want the first time [that voters are] confronted with [the new machines] to be when they go to vote.”
Because HAVA mandates the use of voting machines for the disabled, the outreach program will partially target New Yorkers with disabilities among the 4.3 million voters in the city. The effort will also contain a media outreach program.
While there is no official launch date for the campaign, the effort will increase in scope next year and run through the November 2009 municipal elections, said Cederqvist, who added that Burson is working to create the media portion of the campaign.
A Burson representative declined comment on the campaign.