October 30, 2009


New York City Council Member Helen Sears
Chair, Governmental Operations Committee
37-32 75th St.
Jackson Heights, New York 11372

RE: Please hold a committee hearing for Resolution 2236 as soon as possible and support its passage in committee and in the full Council

Dear Council Member Sears:

I urge you as Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee to hold a committee hearing on Resolution 2236 as soon as possible and to support its passage in committee and also in the full council before the end of this session.

Resolution 2236 urges continued use of our lever voting machines, rather than replacement of them with paper ballots and scanners (computers to be used in each poll site to count the votes on the paper ballots).

Our city and state cannot afford to replace our lever machines now. If replacement efforts move ahead, the cost of running elections will rise dramatically, and will drain our limited resources away from other essential needs.

Worse, with our declining finances, New York counties will not be able to properly secure the paper ballots, nor properly audit the computerized scanners. This means that the outcome of many election contests will be subject to undetected innocent and malicious errors.

Now it is time for every official to take all possible actions to protect our future elections. Twenty upstate counties have already passed resolutions similar to Res. 2236; the first was passed in December, 2008. In some counties the election budget has tripled due to use of the new equipment. Counties will have to cut other essential services in order to pay the additional and unnecessary -- expense of paper ballots and scanners.

Resolution 2236 is of the greatest importance because it expresses political support for our state to take fiscally responsibility action immediately to safeguard our future elections and avoid making our budget choices even more difficult than they will be.

It is critical to bring this resolution to a vote as soon as possible, because the New York State Board of Elections intends to ask the counties to sign purchase agreements for the replacement equipment in December this year.

Please do everything you can to pass Resolution 2236 as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,