Testimony to Governmental Operations Committee and Technology in Government Committee

New York City Council, January 29, 2007


James H. Robbins


Please pass Resolution 131


Thank you for inviting us to testify.  My name is Jim Robbins, a long time resident of Council Member Gale Brewer’s district on the Upper West Side.


First I want to publicly thank Council Member Brewer for her eloquent testimony last November 21 in favor of Paper Ballot/Optical Scan voting systems at a hearing held by the New York City Board of Elections.


The hearing room was packed, and 50 out of 54 speakers endorsed the Paper Ballot/Optical Scan system that Resolution 131 calls for. (The other 4 talked about other aspects of elections.) A second hearing at the City Board of Elections last Tuesday drew another overflow crowd, and 95% of the more than 60 speakers spoke in favor of PBOS.


But we still need the City Council to pass Resolution 131. Your voices on this issue will carry farther than ours, not just in New York City but all over the state.


There are other voices whispering in the ears of the decision makers all over our state.  They are the voices of the vendors.  The vendors were there when HAVA was passed in the US Congress, and they managed to create the impression that Electronic Touch Screen Voting Machines were the only and obvious new technology to replace hanging chads. It is time for the New York City Council to say that computers are not the proper technology for recording and casting votes.


Please speak out loud and clear, to give the kind of political guidance and support that will help our Board of Elections select a PBOS system as the next voting system for New York City.