Marjorie Gersten

 

Testimony before the Governmental Operations Committee

of the New York City Council, April 24, 2006

 

 

My name is Marjorie Gersten. I am a full-time activist for voting integrity and I am here to speak in favor of resolutions 131 and 228.

 

I cannot understand why any American who believes in democracy would accept the idea of electronic voting. It is simple and obvious that a computer conceals what has to be observed, and even Commissioner Martinez of the federal Election Assistance Commission said two weeks ago, just before he resigned from the EAC, "One of the most alarming trends in our country is the continual erosion of voter confidence in the accuracy of our tabulated results."*

 

The computers may be shiny and exciting, but how long will you be able to turn out the vote after you get election returns that are obviously wrong? After voters see their votes switched on the screen in front of their own eyes? After the machines freeze up, break down, and do all the unexplainable things they have done for the last few years in every jurisdiction that uses them?

 

Minorities have everything to lose with computerized voting, because votes can be switched by language group. We already have the smoking gun where that happened in New Mexico. The votes of people with disabilities can be switched according to the assistive device each one uses.

There has never been an audit of an election that was conducted with electronic voting machines. There is no objective evidence that these machines have ever worked accurately.

 

Everyone would be much better off with a paper ballot, which is a permanent record of the voterís real intent. Then all we need is enough observers to make sure local tampering does not occur.

 

Many organizations have recognized the risks, and passed resolutions calling on our Board of Elections to choose paper ballots and optical scanners, not electronic voting machines. Some are:

 

* http://www.wheresthepaper.org/NJcom060409ElectionReformPlanProposed_Martinez.htm