October 28, 2009 -- Statements In Support of

Councilwoman Helen Foster’s Resolution to Keep Lever Voting Machines



(1) New York City Councilmember Robert Jackson, District 7, Manhattan


I applaud Councilmember Foster for taking this progressive step that protects all voters.  I, myself, have long advocated for keeping lever machines until we can afford to replace them and can provide replacements with at least the same degree of accuracy and fitness for their purpose.  An accurate vote count depends not only on the ability to audit equipment but also on the execution of a thorough audit to verify the results.  It does not make sense to spend scarce public resources on unproven and questionable technology – further undermining public confidence in the election process.  Council Member Foster's legislation complements my resolution 228-2006.

(2) New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn, 18th Senate District)


"Councilwoman Foster's resolution is timely and important.  I am glad that she brought this issue before City Council members so they can support state action needed to protect our electoral system and maintain voting accessibility for people with disabilities." 


(3) Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th Assembly District, New York County


"First, let me thank Teresa Hommel for her tireless advocacy on behalf of the voters of New York State.  Second, it is critical to ensure that voters are confident in the outcome of elections.  It is my belief that the problems exposed with the proposed electronic voting systems obligates us to retain our lever machines - which have the confidence of the voters.  Finally, this has the virtue of being the most cost efficient choice."


(4) Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward, 113th Assembly District, Saratoga, Hamilton, Warren and Essex Counties
“I do believe the lever machines that have been used in NYS for many years have a proven track record of accuracy. Let's not disrupt a good system just because other states have had problems.”


(5) Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr, 2nd Assembly District, Suffolk County


"I have been involved in the electoral process in New York State my entire adult life. While I have seen my share of election controversies, never....not once.....have lever voting machines been the problem. At a time of deficits and scarce resources, the adage, "If it ain't broke......don't fix it" has never been truer.”


(6) Democratic Election Commissioner William Biamonte, Nassau County


“Any reasonable person would conclude that New York State's mad rush to comply with an unreasonable federal consent order would put the integrity of New York's elections in jeopardy. From labs that don't know how to test, to electronic machines that are unreliable, we should step back to make sure we use a voting system we know we can count on. The only secure option right now is the lever machine.”  Press Contact: 516-571-6789


(7) Joel Tyner, County Legislator, Clinton/Rhinebeck, 845-242-3571


"I think it's great that the New York City Council is considering passing a resolution to keep using lever machines.  The fact is that the Help America Vote Act does not mandate a switch to computerized voting machines-- and Andi Novick, the Election Transparency Coalition, the Election Defense Alliance, countless studies across the country, and even the HBO documentary "Hacking Democracy" have proven conclusively over the last several years that even paper-ballot optical scan voting machines are just about as hackable as touchscreen/DRE machines.

I eagerly await the New York City Council joining the ranks of Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, Greene, Columbia, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Essex, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Schoharie, Schuyler, Tioga, Warren, Washington, and Wyoming County Legislatures, along with the NYS Association of Towns, in passing a resolution to keep using safe, reliable, accurate, and inexpensive lever voting machines."


 (8) Doug McGivney, Kinderhook Town Supervisor, Minority Leader of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, member of the NYS Democratic Committee and the Democratic Rural Conference.


            As Kinderhook Town Supervisor and Minority Leader of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors, I am beginning to have faith in common sense prevailing on this issue.  Council Member Helen Foster's resolution is terrific and I fully support her efforts.

            I am also a member of the NYS Democratic Committee, as well as the Democratic Rural Conference. It is great to see a "One New York" attitude toward an unwise change in a system that has proven to work.  Our election systems, whether upstate or downstate, have worked well for years. It was not NYS that caused the problem.  It was Florida.  It was not the lever machines that caused the problem but rather the punch card machines.

            I appreciate and support Council Member Foster's efforts.


(9) Steve Levy, Suffolk County Executive. Suffolk County has sued New York on this matter, and the county sought to intervene in the federal lawsuit about replacing lever machines.


"We believe strongly, for both practical and economic reasons, that these reliable lever machines should be retained."


(10) Bruce Funk, Former County Clerk with 23 years Election Experience, Emery Cty, Utah


“Councilwoman Helen Foster has sent a strong signal to those who might—or, if given the opportunity, would--control our vote through the use of electronic election equipment. May what she has started in New York spread across this country!

Voter confidence is fragile, and any voting machine that counts or tabulates votes without public oversight is a risk we should not take. Election officials, candidates and voters need to know how the votes are handled, and to be able to observe that the votes are counted as intended. 

As County Clerk, when I inspected the electronic machines my county had purchased, I found vote flipping software, and also found that the system did not log the changes to votes or software. The vote flipping software removed itself after it was used.

I personally do not know of any way for election officials, candidates, and voters to ensure that every unit of electronic voting and vote-counting equipment records and counts votes accurately on election day and enables people to act as effective election observers. With paper ballots and scanners this would require that votes be manually counted immediately after the election.

If you can avoid switching your elections to electronic equipment, you will avoid this entire problem that electronic machines create.”


(11) Ellen Theisen, Founder and Director, VotersUnite.org


“Computers are wonderful for all kinds of things, but it is inappropriate to use them for elections. If the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) had said, "we hereby ban all election observers" maybe Congress would not have passed it. But instead HAVA said, "here's $3 billion to put your elections in computers." And it's the same thing. We can't observe how the votes are being handled or if they are being counted properly. When we use computers for voting and vote-counting, the people lose any ability to provide oversight."