Phyllis Andrews

 

November 21, 2006

Board of Elections of the City of New York

 

My name is Phyllis Andrews. I am a member of the Task Force on Election Integrity of Community Church of New York. Thank you for holding this hearing, so that the public can speak on the subject of our new voting equipment. Thank you also for holding two public demonstrations of the new equipment last week. I attended the demonstration in Queens and found it well organized and very interesting.

 

We will have to replace our old lever voting machines soon. I urge you to select paper ballots and optical scanners as our replacements, with addition of ballot marking devices for people who need assistance in marking their ballot.

 

When you mention electronic voting, most people say something about tampering and dishonest elections and computerized voting machines that donít work. These are ordinary people, but they know about the failures of electronic voting, and the many reasons against using it. It seems like quite a lot of people read about the problems of electronic voting on the internet, on respected web sites such as BlackBoxVoting.org, VoteTrustUSA.org, VotersUnite.org, VerifiedVoting.org, WheresThePaper.org, and here in New York, NYVV.org which is New Yorkers for Verified Voting.

 

But there seems to be a big divide. Many public officials seem to have gotten most or all of their information from vendors, and are not even aware of alternative sources of information. I believe there is an obligation to be fully informed before making decisions that affect the foundation of our democracy and the legitimacy of our government.

 

For this reason, I thank you again for holding two demonstrations of the new equipment, so the public can see it first hand. And I urge you to do more Ė

 

Please read the same web sites I mentioned before.

Please hold a full mock election public test of each voting system that you are considering for purchase.

Please hold public hacking tests of the equipment.

Please devise some way to inspect the equipment so that we can confirm that it does not contain illegal wireless communications in the hardware, software, firmware, or any other components.

 

And please select paper ballots and optical scanners for our new equipment, not DREs. We need to keep it simple and avoid computers as much as possible in our elections.

 

Thank you.