Testimony of Arnold Gore
Consumers Health Freedom Coalition
Hearing of the Governmental Operations Committee
April 24, 2006
Transparency and Technology
I am Arnold Gore of the Consumers Health Freedom Coalition from Upper Manhattan.
I urge each member of this committee and the Chairman to sponsor Resolution 131, and work for its passage as soon as possible by the entire City Council.
The most important factor in any system of democratic elections is to maintain the trust of the public and the voters.
Trust requires election procedures to be both observable and observed. Two upstate commissioners once said, "We never have any questions about the way we do things, because we ask all the parties to send in observers and watch everything we do." That’s transparency.
Paper Ballot Optical Scan systems let everyone observe. The voters mark their own legal ballot by hand or by an accessible machine.* Observers can watch the count. If the scanners are questioned you have the original paper ballot and can see the voter's intent, and can do a hand recount if need be.
In 2005, 35% of American voters were using paper ballot/optical scan systems in 46% of our jurisdictions. New York City already uses optical scanners to count absentee ballots.
New York should learn from the disastrous experiences in jurisdictions with electronic voting, from Maryland to Florida and California. We shouldn’t set ourselves up to wonder if someone has manipulated our votes or tallies (by) through use of a computer.
Within the next month our Board of Elections will choose our interim machine to satisfy the U.S. Department of Justice. I hope that this City Council passes Resolution 131 in time to influence this decision. I hope that our Board of Elections chooses the AutoMARK accessible ballot-marking machines to allow disabled voters to cast their votes privately and independently in our 2006 elections, because this would be our first step toward the selection of paper ballots and optical scanners as our permanent replacement for the mechanical lever voting machines.
*The AutoMARK ballot-marking machine