May 18, 2009
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
478 Russell Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
RE: KEEP OUR LEVER VOTING MACHINES, RETURN THE FEDERAL MONEY!
Dear Senator Gillibrand:
HAVA, the federal law that funded America's rush to electronic voting, has always allowed lever machines if supplemented by accessible voting equipment for voters with disabilities. However, vendor lobbyists and political interests have confused everyone. Please pass a brief amendment to make this clear again!
In your opportunities to speak with members of our State Assembly and Senate, and our State Board of Elections, please urge them to return the $50 million in federal funds that New York State accepted for replacement of our lever machines. It will cost us millions more of our own money to do it right, and the new equipment won't last more than 10 years. Then we will have no election equipment, and will have to spend more of our own money for new scanners!
With the new accessible Ballot Marking Devices ("BMDs") New York bought last year, we can have well-run, cost-effective, trustworthy, and accessible elections.
If New York has extra money, let's use it for our firehouses, hospitals, senior centers, parks, libraries, affordable housing, teachers and cops.
Our lever voting machines can work for another hundred years with routine maintenance. Most of their parts are standard items sold in hardware stores; the rest can be made in a machine shop. The lever voting machines are secure, easy to manage for poll workers, voters and election administrators, and inexpensive to maintain and use.
Please let me know what you are doing to clarify that HAVA allows New York to keep our lever voting machines, and protect New York's future elections from privatization and unnecessary, expensive, unmanageable computerized voting equipment.