February 24, 2006
New York State Board of Elections
40 Steuben Street
Albany, NY 12207-2108
Dear Co-Executive Directors and Commissioners:
I recommend against adoption of the second draft Voting System Standards. The draft is unclear, incomplete, and will not serve the statutory purpose of ensuring that our future voting equipment can safely and properly be used:
21 a thorough review and testing of any electronic or
22 computerized features of the machine OR SYSTEM. Such report shall state
23 an opinion as to whether the kind of machine OR SYSTEM so examined can
24 safely and properly be used
Instead, this draft of Voting System Standards, like the previous draft, provides for an ad hoc and arbitrary examination and decision-making process that is unprofessional and of low quality.
Moreover, this draft of Voting System Standards does not establish a role for the public as observers or participants, nor does it recognize that the public is the primary stakeholder in elections. Thus, this draft of the Voting System Standards does not serve the mission of the State Board of Elections:
...the board is charged with the preservation of citizen confidence in the democratic process and enhancement in voter participation in elections.
I recommend that the State Board of Elections hire a non-controversial independent expert with experience in dealing with voting systems standards as well as evaluating voting systems to write the standards for NY State. Two recommendations are Dr. Douglas Jones and Dr. Rebecca Mercuri.
I have enclosed four documents from Dr. Mercuri with her evaluation of the second draft of Voting System Standards.
Chair, Task Force on Election Integrity, Community Church of New York Unitarian Universalist