To: New York City Board of Elections


From:  Leon Gortler, Ph.D.


Re:  New voting system for New York City


I have lived and voted in Brooklyn for 44 years and have, on occasion, served as a poll watcher, so I am familiar with the current system.


I went to the demonstration of the systems submitted for certification at LaGuardia Community College on November 15.  I have used computers for close to twenty years, and have used ATMs for years, but I found the DREs somewhat confusing, and I thought that they would cause most voters some difficulty.  It struck me that voters are going to need much more time to vote using these machines, and checking the paper record was not an easy task. 


With this brief experience in mind, the ONLY logical choice for the immediate future is a paper ballot-optical scan system (PBOS).  I strongly urge the Board to adopt such a system.


The Board is surely aware of the problem in Sarasota, FL in the most recent election where, using DREs, over 18,000 ballots showed no vote for the House of Representatives.  There is a possibility that 18,000 voters chose not to vote in the House election, although they did choose to vote for lesser offices, but the percentage of missing House votes was so high (over 13%) that this is unlikely.  There was no paper record in this election, but it would not have made a difference because if the computer did not record a vote, the paper record would also not have shown a vote.  Had there been paper ballots, the odd result could have been easily checked and verified. 


This is just one example where a PBOS system would have cleared up a problem.  The voters of New York City must be confident that when they vote, their votes will be counted AND counted correctly.  It is your duty to provide them with that confidence.