David Kogelman, Esq.


Presented to the Governmental Operations Committee of the New York City Council, April 24, 2006


Independent Evaluation and Testing by New York City of Voting Systems Prior to Purchase and Before Use in Elections is Essential to Public Confidence and the Reliability of Election Results


Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.


My name is David Kogelman. I am an attorney, HAVA Committee Chair of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, and I am here to urge you to vote in favor of Resolution 228.


I am intimately familiar with the drafts of New York State’s Voting System Standards, and personally participated with a group of several lawyers and computer experts in drafting extensive revisions of the second draft of those Standards. The regulations approved last week by the State Board contain many of revisions that our group provided.


Nothwithstanding our best efforts, the regulations are not foolproof and haste in certifying and acquiring new voting systems will likely lead to essential requirements being ignored or overlooked.  A rush to acquire new voting systems before they have been built to New York State’s requirements, or perfected, has been created by HAVA and the Justice Department’s eleventh hour lawsuit against New York State to enforce HAVA’s requirements.  This has led us to this point where we must exercise the utmost vigilance to avoid chaos at the polls and unreliable results in the coming primaries and on election day.


As pointed out in my OpEd in Newsweek, which is attached, New York State is now in a position of deciding to “buy first and only test for security flaws later”.  


In 2004, 2005 and even the last few months, there have been numerous reports from across the country of newly delivered voting systems failing tests, malfunctioning, and recording tens or hundreds of thousands more votes than there were voters.  We cannot afford to have a similar situation arise here, where there is great confidence in the accuracy and trustworthiness of our election results.


For these reasons, and for so many others, it is my firm belief that any voting system adopted by New York City should be rigorously and publicly examined and tested by the City’s Board of Elections both before purchase and after delivery, and that such testing include registering votes on the voting system and its components in the same manner as voters will do on election day.  


Accordingly, I urge you to adopt Resolution 228, and protect the accuracy, transparency and trustworthiness of our voting systems and election results.