from Bo Lipari, 2/17/06



On Tuesday, 2/14/06 the State Board of Elections met in public and executive session. During the meeting at this critical time for New York, many important topics were discussed. Among them were current options to achieve compliance with HAVA and satisfy the Department of Justice. There are ongoing discussions with Department of Justice about how to achieve HAVA compliance in an attempt to find an acceptable solution that will avoid litigation.


The State and the Department of Justice are discussing a new option that would allow New York to keep the lever machines in place for this year’s election. This potential solution, referred to as “Plan B”, is very promising and has many benefits for New York.


Plan B - A Proposed Low Impact Solution

Plan B provides for accessible voting while keeping the lever machines in 2006. It calls for:

    * Counties wait until 2007 to replace lever machines, continuing to use them for the 2006 election.

    * 1 Accessible voting system required per polling place for 2006 election. 
        Two types of accessible systems discussed:

            1) A Ballot marking device, such as the Automark or Populex.


            2) A vote-by-phone system used in Vermont (called IVS).


NYVV Supports Plan B with Ballot Markers for Accessible Voting

Of the two accessibility alternatives, ballot markers or vote-by-phone, NYVV supports adopting Plan B using ballot markers for accessible voting as the best option for New York State voters.


The vote-by-phone option has a few obvious problems. In the first place, there are significant security concerns about the current phone voting systems in use. Second, this option requires a phone line in each polling place. But many polling places in New York are located in spaces like gymnasiums which are not equipped with phone lines. It is unclear how installation of land lines in every polling site in New York could be accomplished. Third, it is not yet clear how accessible the vote-by-phone system really is.


Ballot marking devices provide maximum accessibility and usability, at low cost. Plan B should stipulate that any ballots cast by voters on accessible voting machines must be afforded full confidentiality and secrecy.


Adoption of Plan B will provide accessible voting at each polling place in the state while preventing an ill advised rush to install completely new voting systems by 2006. It affords New York and the Department of Justice a low impact, affordable and sensible solution which minimizes risks to the citizens of New York.


Call your local election commissioners and tell them to support adoption of Plan B!