Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Five NY counties to ditch lever voting machines

While many counties are preparing resolutions requesting the State do everything in its power to keep our lever machines, five counties announced they are moving ahead with machines that aren't certified, let alone secure.

Franklin County to ditch lever voting machines - Adirondack Daily Enterprise: "TUPPER LAKE - Franklin County, along with four other counties, will switch to using electronic voting machines exclusively by this year's elections.
'We believe it is time to go ahead and go forward with one voting machine instead of three different ones,' said county Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Veronica King.

The announcement from Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties followed on the heels of Essex County's passage last week of a resolution requesting the state make it legal for counties to keep lever voting machines in addition to the one electronic voting machine that is already available at each polling place in the state."

Teresa Hommel who writes Where's the Paper and chairs the Task Force on Election Integrity at Community Church of NY offered the NY State Board of Elections some sage comments you might want to echo. I know I will.

"I oppose the experimental use of uncertified scanners in real elections without a 100% hand-count on election night of all votes processed by those scanners. The hand-count must be the official tally of those votes for all purposes. Any "pilot program" to introduce uncertified scanners to staff and voters must not be the basis for counting or reporting election results.

In addition, I urge you to use this pilot experiment to implement the recommendation of the New York City Council as expressed in Resolution 228A of 2006 passed unanimously in August, 2006, and quoted below. Otherwise the pilot will be little more than a test of whether voters can insert a piece of paper into a slot on an optical scanner, and the scanner can print a reasonable-looking tally report at the end of the day. "

Conduct a Mock Election Public Test with the objective that such
Mock Election Public Test would demonstrate that:

a. Vendor documentation, training materials, and the ability to train election staff are effective, such that the vendor can train Board staff so that Board staff can: (i) independently perform all tasks to prepare the test machines for the test, including ballot programming, (ii) train election inspectors for the test, and (iii) perform all
post-election tasks to canvass the votes;

b. Votes displayed on screens and voter verified printouts, tallies, and activity and event logs for all systems under consideration are accurate;

c. Tabulating equipment associated with each system under consideration is accurate;

Send your letters to New York State Board of Elections: James A. Walsh, Co-Chair; Douglas A. Kellner, Co-Chair; Evelyn J. Aquila, Commissioner; Gregory P. Peterson, Commissioner; Todd D. Valentine, Co-Executive Director; Stanley L. Zalen, Co-Executive Director

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