By Teresa Hommel




Put These Into New York State’s Voting System Standards!


Requirements so that our new voting machines

 may be safely and properly used




1. County BOEs and NYC BOE required to hold Public Hearings before selection

    --evaluate public confidence vs. public knowledge of flaws in each technology before selecting,

       and don’t select technology that a large percentage of voters don’t trust based on good reasons


2. County BOEs and NYC BOE required to produce unbiased Cost Analysis before selection

   --if we assume that all state certified systems will work, we should select the one that costs 1/3

      and lasts 3-4 times longer


3. County BOEs and NYC BOE required to conduct all election work in-house (not contract it out)

   --either ban vendor technicians, or require all work performed by vendor technicians to be

      meaningfully observed and logged by bi-partisan staff who fully understand what the vendor

      tech is doing


4. DRE systems with voter verified paper audit record required to use document-quality paper

   --not heat-sensitive paper that could fade before the 3% count due to hot storage conditions


5. Before certification of any voting system, State BOE required to conduct a multi-machine

    Mock Election Public Test (MEPT) of a type suitable for computers (meaning, not of a type

    suitable for mechanical lever voting machines)

   --Suggested four machines minimum; CA used 96 machines  

   --Criteria for passing the test is 100% accuracy, with no malfunctions or failures

   --To be tested:

a.       Vendor documentation, training materials, and ability to train county staff – vendor must train county staff, and county staff must independently perform all tasks to prepare the test machines for the MEPT including ballot programming, and train the election inspectors for the MEPT, and all post-election tasks

b.      Ability of election inspectors to perform appropriate tasks with the machines and voters

c.       Ability of voters to enter votes via every interface, meaning the touch screen or pushbuttons, use of the VVPAR and ability to see/read the printing on it, every device for use by voters with disabilities, and every language display

d.      Ability of election inspectors to extract end-of-day tallies and other information

e.       Accuracy of the votes displayed on the DRE screen and voter verified printout, tallies, DRE activity logs

f.        Accuracy of associated tabulating equipment results


6. State BOE required to commission a Professional Hacking Test (“Red Test”), such as the RABA Technologies test commissioned by the Maryland Legislature. (The Department of Legislative Services, Maryland General Assembly, commissioned a "Trusted Agent Report" by RABA Technologies, LLC, published on January 20, 2004. The New York Times discussed its findings: Security Poor in Electronic Voting Machines, Study Warns , By John Schwartz, January 29, 2004. The Baltimore Sun reported Md. computer testers cast a vote: Election boxes easy to mess with by Stephanie Desmon, January 30, 2004.)


7. State BOE required to conduct a Public Hacking Test, such as sponsored by Leon County, Florida, Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho and Harri Hursti, the computer security expert from Finland.


8. State BOE required to obtain or make an easily-verifiable inventory list of all system components, including hardware, programming, files, filesystem structures, documentation, training materials, accessories, and all other components, and State BOE required to verify that

a.       the inventory list accurately lists all components of the system submitted for certification

b.      all parts are safe and proper for inclusion in a voting system in NY State (no “extra” components such as software, firmware, or hardware to support wireless communication which our state law bans)

c.       Systems delivered are correctly configured (contain the same components as state-certified system of that type), to be determined by evaluating all or a random percentage of systems delivered to confirm that they contain all components on the inventory list and no extra components

d.      System design facilitates ease of confirmation by counties that use the system that components are the same as on the inventory list.


9. Penalty for vendor and de-certification of system if systems upon delivery, or after vendor access to systems, are found to be corrupt or different from the state-certified version of the system


The following may not be suitable for the regulations in this section, but will be necessary for the safe and proper use of new voting systems.


10. State or County BOEs required to verify, after each election, that all or a random percentage of systems used were correctly configured (contained all components on the inventory list and no extra components).


11. As part of Logic and Accuracy tests, County BOE required to inspect systems before elections for illegal communication capability whether hardware, software, firmware, or any other type. Technical and legal representatives of each party with a candidate on the ballot may inspect the system for this.


12. Logic and Accuracy test required to include

a.       a minimum 200 ballots entered via the same method to be used by voters on election day including use of all accessibility attachments, minority  language displays, and DRE voter verified printouts

b.      extraction of end-of-day results and all activity logs

c.       all screen displays, voter verified printouts, end-of-day results and activity logs are correct