Beth Franzese

January 29, 2007



Statement to the joint hearing on Resolution 131 by the Government Operations Committee and Technology in Government Committee, New York City Council



We have recently learned that the CIBER testing laboratory is not federally certified.


This calls into question all of the voting systems in this nation that were tested by CIBER. We have seen many failures and irregularities associated with federally certified electronic voting equipment. Activists have said for years that federal certification was not a guarantee that an electronic voting machine worked. Now we have an idea of why that is true.


What does this mean about the equipment submitted to New York State? It means that these new machines, designed to meet New York State’s unique requirements, were derived from machines that caused problems elsewhere, that may never have been rigorously tested. It means that the same kinds of failures that occurred in other states could happen here, especially if we have to rush to certify and buy and use this equipment.


It means that we should not rely on computer technology to help us run good elections.


We should stick with the most low-tech equipment available to us. If we cannot keep our mechanical lever machines, we should choose paper ballots, optical scanners, and ballot marking devices for voters with special needs.


This is so important that I urge you not to sit silent while the decisions are being made by others. Everyone must take an interest and do what he or she can to make sure that New York does not end up with electronic voting machines. Please bring Resolution 131 to a vote, and let it out of committee for a vote by the full council.


Thank you.