Statement to the Committee on Governmental Operations and the Committee on Technology in Government of the New York City Council
Jan. 29, 2007
Thank you for holding this hearing and giving me an opportunity to speak.
I am a proponent of paper ballots, optical scanners and ballot marking devices for voters who need assistance to mark their paper ballot.
However, as much as we want good equipment, I donít understand why we are willing to purchase equipment from companies that have such a poor track record. Avanteís machines have not being used yet in great numbers, so they donít have much of a track record, but machines from Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia have a history of high failure rates.
We should not give our money to companies like this, and should not let them provide equipment to run our elections.
If we have to replace our lever machines, the high cost of new equipment from current vendors should make us evaluate whether it is feasible for us to make our own optical scanners which are a relatively simple technology.
The state of Oklahoma developed their own software for their current optical scanner system. I have suggested to our New York City Board of Elections at their hearing last week to speak with Oklahomaís Secretary of the State Election Board, who has responsibility for administration of that office. His name is Michael Clingman.*
There is not even one problem report from Oklahoma in any problem database for recent elections. If Oklahoma can do it, why canít we Ė why canít we use Oklahomaís approach for New York?
*Oklahoma State Election Board, Room B-6, State Capitol Building, PO Box 53156, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73152, Telephone 405-521-2391