Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Polling for Your Opinion: Lever Voting Machines

Should the Branch advocate to keep our lever machines?

To the Branch Membership:
On Tuesday the Public Policy Committee proposed that the branch advocate for the Ulster County Legislature to pass a resolution, similar to the one passed in Dutchess County last month, to request that the NY State Legislature and Board of Elections "enact laws, rules, and regulations that specifically authorize the continued use of lever-style voting machines."

The Board members present unanimously support the resolution, but because at least one branch member has expressed disagreement, they decided that we should poll the membership.
You'll find a poll at the bottom of this post.

What's the rush?
We understand that the resolution has passed the committee and will be on the floor for a vote soon, but we don't have a date.

What does advocating for passage of this resolution mean?
It means sending an email to our full mailing list asking them to show support by sending a message to legislative leaders(see below); issuing a press release; writing a letter(s) to the editor, and other steps to make the branch position known.

The Pros and Cons

You'll find reference links below supporting each position.

The Public Policy Committee has invested a substantial amount of time investigating this issue. We sponsored a viewing of HBO's Hacking Democracy and a presentation by Andi Novick in December, have discussed it at two meetings, and done a significant amount of reading on the subject. We have concluded that
  • Optical scan and touch screen voting machines can be hacked; to date, no electronic voting system has been able to meet the NY State standards for certification. In fact, testing for certification was suspended in October 2008 because the company contracted to test equipment, SysTest Labs, lost it's Federal certification as a testing lab.
  • The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) does not mandate a statewide switch to electronic voting. NY filed a HAVA plan, accepted by the Federal Court, and implemented it. NYS has met the HAVA requirements.
  • NY's constitution requires that voters be able to see how votes are counted -- paper ballots and lever machines are the only systems that meet these criteria.
  • Costs - this is no time to spend millions of our tax dollars implementing a flawed electronic system when the current system works better. This is a budget cut we can all get behind.
Pro Resource Material:
ReMedia Election Transparency Coalition - Andi Novick's blog

Save NY's Lever Voting Machines - a collection of resources pulled together by Ruth Wahtera

prepared by Rokki Carr:
I've been following the issue pretty closely over the last two years, but it seems appropriate to just set forth the position of "mainstream reformers." Andy Novick is a "fringe" reformer. I have read one of her legal petitions and did not find her arguments persuasive as a matter of law. My recollection is that she "advertised" for amicus support and did not get any. Retaining the levers is not an option under HAVA, and that in order to be compliant (a federal judge now has jurisdiction over the NY situation), anything secure and unhackable with a paper trail should do.

Con Resource Material:
Read the LWV/NYVV statement here:

Read an analysis of HAVA requirements to replace lever machines:

The poll is open until Friday, Feb. 13. This is not a "certified voting machine" so we count on your integrity. You must be a member, and please vote only once.
And, please share your thoughts by clicking on 'comments' below.

No comments:

Post a Comment