Charles Michael Couch

January 29, 2007



Statement before the Governmental Operations and Technology in Government Committees of the New York City Council, supporting Resolution 131


Thank you for holding this hearing and giving me an opportunity to speak.  My background as a certified electronics technician, computer technician, programmer, systems analyst, and database programmer; is the basis for my comments.


In a democracy, elections have to be conducted in a way that lets the people participate and see that the process is legitimate.



Even if electronic voting equipment worked perfectly, it does not serve the needs of elections in a democracy. This is why the international standards* emphasize observation.


Here in New York state, our current law requires you to select either DRE electronic voting machines, or paper ballots and optical scanners with accessible ballot marking devices for voters who have disabilities or non-English languages.


DREs prevent each voter from observing his or her own vote recording and ballot casting, and prevent election observers from observing the storage, handling, and counting of votes.


The paper ballot option prevents election observers from observing the counting of votes. However, by using test batches to check the scanners and other measures, the accuracy of scanners can be made reliable.


It is clear from this comparison that we should choose paper ballots, optical scanners, and ballot marking devices when we have to replace our mechanical lever voting machines. Therefore I urge you to pass Resolution 131 out of committee for a vote by the City Council.


Thank you.