Report from NYVV


A quick report on the highlights from the SBOE commissioners meeting on Tuesday, March 27 held in Rockland County. You may forward.


Most of the discussion at the meeting was about the Machine Timing numbers. Commissioner Kellner asked if there was a formal proposal before the Board for approval, to which Co-Executive Director Peter Kosinski said there was not. He described three issues that were still unresolved:


a) The AIR report numbers for the Liberty DRE were higher than the other DREs.

b) The numbers for scanners from the Carr/Kosinski proposal were not extracted in the same way as the DREs were.

c) The number of required privacy booths remained undetermined.


To this, Commissioner Doug Kellner added another:


d) The AIR study had every ballot undervoted, so all scanner ballots were kicked back. This led to a long discussion that the New York State requirement for undervote notification should be changed! This is the first time to my knowledge the SBOE has publicly discussed removing this requirement. It seemed that the sentiment was undervote notification was probably not a good idea after all, and an action item was assigned to determine what it would take to eliminate the undervote notification requirement, with Todd Valentine and Pat Murray to prepare a report for the next meeting.


A long and lively discussion about the timing numbers followed. Commissioner Kellner proposed that the high numbers for the Liberty DRE be ignored, and that a single number of voters for all DRE systems be set. Unfortunately, his suggestion was the Avante and Sequoia DRE numbers from the AIR study - 550 registered voters per DRE. NYVV's study has shown that no more than 200 registered voters per DRE should be allowed, so this proposal from Commissioner Kellner is unfortunately far too high, although he indicated he wanted a requirement for additional machines based on the expected number of voters who will use accessibility features. The State Board staff has done a preliminary report on numbers for DREs and scanners based on some data from other states which was referred to during the discussions. Director of Operations Anna Svizzero noted that the 550 voters per DRE number was far too high if you look at what other states are using - a number of states are using no more than 225 voters per DRE, and some less than that. By the way this corroborates NYVV's study, which calls for 200 registered voters per DRE.


Much discussion ensued about the proposed number of registered voters per scanner. Commissioner Kellner noted various reasons the AIR study numbers for scanners were too low, and suggested that 4000 registered voters per scanner be used. This matches the NYVV study recommendation for scanners. There was also a lot of discussion about the number of privacy booths needed for scanner systems. Staff had recommended that one privacy booth for every 100 registered voters be required in on-year elections, and 150 voters per booth in off-year elections. There was some discussion about whether this was too high.


Finally, the decision was made that Co-Executive Directors Zalen and Kosinski together with staff would prepare a formal proposal on the number of machines per voter to present to the Board at the next meeting. They were tasked with gathering more data about scanner systems from neighboring New England states (some has already been gathered). At that point, the Board will vote to approve the proposal for public comment. So the public will be given an opportunity to comment on the timing numbers. If the 550 registered voters per DRE is adopted, it will condemn New York voters to long lines and waiting times, so we're going to have a lot to say!