NYS Board of Elections Commissioners Meeting



Meeting convened at 12:25.


Commissioner Neil Kelleher presided.



Commissioners Kellner, Aquila, Donohue.

All staff except Todd Valentine, Counsel


Kathleen O'Keefe, NYS Budget & OGS reps.

Vicky Perry—NYVV

Chris Kiggins--Senate Minority staff

1-2 others unidentified.

(Kelleher did not follow Kellner's procedure of introducing staff and guests at the beginning of the meeting).


Unit reports:


Legal:  Pat Murray, Counsel -- DOJ suit:  they expect that Judge Sharpe will sign their amended proposal.  No mention of the Motion to Intervene filed by NYPIRG, et al.  She also reported on some recent development in a felon disenfranchisement case.


Election Operations:  Anna Svizzero -- Testing of four ballot-marking devices completed last Thursday.  Report completed and ready for approval by commissioners. BOE website has the 168 page report posted.  Kellner moved to approve report and the motion was accepted unanimously.  Aquila questioned the data in the report on the amount of time required by disabled users to use the various equipment during the testing.  Some times were as much as 30-45 minutes per ballot.  She is concerned that with those amounts of time there are not going to be enough machines to meet the need in some counties.  Kellner suggested that counsels look at the procedures used during last week's testing and get outside help from agencies working with disabled about how to address the question of the actual process to be used during voting. The question was raised also of what these ballots will be called, that is, "special ballots," and how they fit in the current definitions in the Election Law. Kellner wants a report by the next meeting.


Kellner also wants a revised schedule of certification of Plan A testing -- he wants at least 3 weeks for counties to decide what equipment they will select.  He has a concern that right now there are no numbers available from vendors about what the recommended number of voters per machine are. The term they used was "usability" figures, and the new voting systems standards requires “usability” testing (page 15).  Anna Svizzero is supposed to get this information.

Some manufacturers are saying they need machine orders by July-August to gear up production for 2007.  Avante has submitted an application and a check for Plan A testing.  OGS has posted information on the RFP process and there will be a pre-bidders conference on June 1 in Albany.  It was not clear whether it was open to the public, or the location, etc.



Public Information --Lee Daghlian -- new media guide for Election 2006 is posted on website. New staff person on board to do training. The final "train the trainer" session will be in NYC on May 24.  A draft plan to inform counties of what they need to do to access funds for poll worker training and education was approved.  He has a list of the county allocations of the $5 million appropriated for polling place accessibility program which will be an 18 month program.


Campaign Finance -- Bill McCann (for Michael Johnson),  Phase II of the local cf implementation going on, Phase II, the dunning process for those candidates who did not file will begin soon, and Phase IV which requires integration with the IT unit is being worked on.


Information Technology -- George Stanton -- NYS Voter I status:  modifications to local database fields to add the new ones required under HAVA are ongoing.  One vendor serves 40 counties, one serves 7 (they didn't specify the remaining 15 counties).  Kellner expressed concern about the cost of long term support for these functions and that the state should bear this cost within reason.  He would like the BOE to develop a procedure to monitor the reasonableness of charges which vendors are claiming.  This is not a biddable contract because it is proprietary information ("sole source").  The pre-bidders conference for NYS Voter I has been held and he expects 3-6 proposals for the project.


New Business  --  Draft Database Regulations. were approved and are posted on the website for the 45 day comment period.  Two other issues were brought up but not discussed:  1) voting machine regulations are not complete, 2) statute on what constitutes a vote should be amended.  Doug Kellner likes the Virginia example which described how a marked ballot should look.  I think he was referring specifically to an op scan ballot.


Meeting adjourned at 1:25 pm