October 26, 2007

 

Honorable Eliot Spitzer

Governor of New York

Executive Chamber

Albany NY 12224

 

Re New York State needs your leadership to get voter-marked paper ballots and optical scanners

 

Dear Governor Spitzer:

 

I urge you to work actively and use the power of your office to help New York State switch to a statewide system of voter-marked paper ballots and precinct-based optical scanners when we have to replace our mechanical voting machines.

 

International standards for election legitimacy are based on observation. But with electronic voting machines, called DREs, voters and observers cannot see the ballots inside the computer. The paper trail doesnít count for initial tallies, and is only spot-checked. With DREs, 97% of the tallies will be based on invisible electronic ballots which voters can never verify, and observers can never observe.

 

Elections should be as simple and low-tech as possible. With paper ballots, we can easily confirm tallies by recounting the first-hand voter-marked paper ballots. If we have the political will for honest, accessible elections, we can have it with PBOS.

 

DREs are capable of "ethnic profiling." When a voter selects a non-English language for the screen display, these ballots have been found to be handled differently from ballots cast in English. Palm Beach County, Florida, conducted a parallel test in November, 2006, and found that the ballots cast using a Spanish language display had missing votes. This is only one of many warnings we have had about this problem. We should not use equipment where the machine knows the voterís language and can handle the votes differently based on the voterís language.

 

Please lead our state to the use of low-tech, securable, understandable, and observable voter-marked paper ballots and optical scanners!

 

Sincerely yours,

 

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