May 18, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW†
Washington, DC 20500†
RE: Let New York Keep Our Lever Voting Machines! Call Off Your Dept of Justice!
Dear President Obama:
Electronic voting and vote counting has privatized our elections nationwide, and threatens to turn our democracy into a sham:
∑ Voter arenít sure that their votes are recorded and counted accurately as intended.
∑ Observers canít understand or witness the handling and counting of votes.
∑ Election administrators donít know how their own equipment works.
∑ Counties nationwide cannot afford the spiraling costs of privatized election equipment.
New York State has not yet computerized our elections. We still use our magnificent old mechanical lever voting machines. In over 100 years of use, a culture of fraud has not developed around the use of these machines because tampering with them is just too cumbersome. A person with minimal training can look inside the machine and verify that its programming is correct.
In contrast, there is no such thing as a secure computer, and paper ballots are a magnet for tampering unless ballot boxes are under continuous public scrutiny at all times.
New Yorkers want to keep our lever voting machines. We have an agreement with the Department of Justice to replace them, which was negotiated under the previous administration. However, federal law does not require lever replacement, and New York now meets all federal requirements for accessible voting equipment in each poll site for use by voters with disabilities.
We urge you to call off the Department of Justice and simply let New York return the $50 million in federal money we accepted some years ago for lever replacement.
Our lever voting machines can work for another hundred years with routine maintenance. Parts and service are readily available. 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 that you will take all actions needed to enable New York to keep our lever voting machines and protect our future elections from privatization and unnecessary, expensive, unmanageable computerized voting equipment.