Statements In Support of Resolution 131

March 14, 2007


Res. 131 urges adoption of Paper Ballots, Optical Scanners,

and accessible Ballot Marking Devices for voters with special needs

when New York replaces our mechanical lever voting machines.



(1) New Yorkers for Verified Voting, Bo Lipari, Executive Director

"Resolution 131 states what should be obvious by now to everyone -- New York must avoid unreliable and expensive electronic touch-screen voting machines, and adopt a proven, auditable, cost-effective voting system -- paper ballots and optical scanners."


(2) New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), Neal Rosenstein, Government Reform Coordinator

"Computerized touch screen voting systems have caused trouble across the country and increase public cynicism about election results," said Neal Rosenstein of New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). "The Mayor now needs to publicly acknowledge that computers aren't the best voting technology, and to use his influence in support of safe, reliable and accessible paper ballot systems for all voters."


(3) League of Women Voters, Mary Lou Urban, Elections Specialist

"With the integrity of New York elections and the confidence of the City's voters totally dependent upon the security and accuracy of our voting system, it is entirely appropriate and commendable for the City Council to pass this resolution."


(4) Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Lawrence Norden, Counsel

“After many months of study, the Brennan Center's findings are clear: New York City cannot ensure that voter's choices will be accurately recorded if the Board of Elections decides to purchase any of the touch-screen machines currently under consideration. To ensure that we accurately record voter’s intentions, New York City must choose optical scan machines."


(5) Demos, John Bonifaz, Senior Legal Fellow

"Demos commends the New York City Council for passing Resolution 131 to urge the requirement of paper ballots and precinct-based optical scanner systems for New York City elections.  The use of paper ballots, marked either by hand or by non-tabulating ballot marking devices, will help ensure that the voting process will be both secure and accessible.  Direct recording electronic voting machines, with or without a paper trail, have proven to be fundamentally flawed for the recording and counting of our votes.  With its passage of Resolution 131, the New York City Council is helping to lead the nation in protecting the integrity of our elections."

(6) Task Force on Election Integrity, Community Church of New York, Teresa Hommel, Chairwoman

“This resolution makes clear that elections belong to the people. Paper ballots and optical scanners will enable the voters, poll workers, and election observers of our city to understand and observe how our votes are being handled. International standards for election legitimacy are based on observation, and we don’t want computerized equipment that prevents meaningful observation.”


(7) VotersUnite (a national clearinghouse of information on voting technology), Ellen Theisen, Founder

"This resolution will help protect New Yorkers from the kinds of disenfranchisement that have occurred in so many places due to the use of electronic ballots. Congress should follow the example that the New York City Council is setting, and do everything they can to support the use of paper ballots and optical scanners, and oppose the use of electronic voting machines."


(8) The Joint Public Affairs Committee for Older Adults (JPAC), Adele Bender, Queens Borough Coordinator for JPAC

"Simple low-tech voting equipment is essential if we are to be sure that our new equipment is accessible to all, to ensure that older adults, individuals with disabilities and those with language barriers can make use of their opportunity to vote. We applaud the City Council for Resolution 131 because with paper ballots and optical scanners, we can maintain public confidence that our votes will be securely cast and counted."


(9) Election Reform Task Force of the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club, Linda A. DeStefano, Chair

“The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club was one of the first organizations to engage in a statewide campaign for a paper ballot voting system for New York State. We applaud Resolution 131 put forth by Council Member Charles Barron and the New York City Council to support this vital campaign to be sure that each vote is counted as cast.”


(10), Pamela Smith, President

( is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national organization promoting fair, transparent and accurate elections.)

“Paper ballot/optical scan systems, with ballot-markers for accessibility, represent trusted and true technology that is reliable, cost-effective and practical. It is good to see the New York City Council take leadership in promoting the best available choice for New York's voters.”


(11) Citizen Action of New York, Pam Bennett, NYC Regional Director

"We applaud the New York City Council for standing up for voters and taxpayers, and urging the adoption of paper ballots and optical scanners. We ask county legislators and all elected officials across New York State to follow the City Council's example and tell the Election Commissioners of your county to protect the integrity of the election process and the pocketbook of local taxpayers by rejecting electronic voting machines which are costly and  proven to be untrustworthy."


(12) New York City Americans for Democratic Action, Evelyn Jones Rich, Chair, City Issues Committee

“Paper ballots, optical scanners, and accessible ballot marking devices represent the only way, at this time, to provide both accessibility and transparency in voting, consistent with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Paper ballots do not rely on blind faith, as electronic voting machines do. Paper ballots ensure that there is a physical vote and, therefore, the ability to audit, count and recount with both accuracy and honesty.”


(13) Bronx-Westchester Nation Discussion Group, Florence Gold, Chairperson

"Observable, easily-verified public elections are the foundation of our democracy. That's why paper ballots and optical scanners are the right choice. We are very pleased with the New York City Council for showing leadership and passing this resolution."


(14) Center for the Women of New York, Jeanette Evans, Executive Vice President

"As citizens and taxpayers, we do not want our city's resources spent on insecure electronic voting systems when a less expensive, time-tested, and more reliable alternative is available -- paper ballots and optical scanners. As women, we are aware that equality in society begins with the right to vote, and we do not want to risk our votes by casting them on electronic voting machines. For these reasons, we commend the City Council for passing Resolution 131."


(15) Brooklyn Parents for Peace, Dr. Charlotte Phillips, MD, Chairperson

"We commend the City Council for passing Resolution 131, because the use of paper ballots and optical scanners will keep our elections in local bipartisan hands. We do not want to vote on electronic voting systems with secret software. We reject vendors' claims that their proprietary trade secret rights override the public's right to know how our election equipment is working. With paper ballots, we can all understand and witness the handling of our votes."


(16) Brooklyn-Queens Chapter, National Organization for Women, Sherry Rogers, Vice President

"Women fought for many years to get the vote. We don't want to turn our votes over to companies who make electronic voting systems, whose loyalty is to profit-making rather than to our democracy. We applaud the New York City Council for urging our Board of Elections to choose equipment that is manageable for staff, voters, poll workers and election observers."


(17) North Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice, Steve Brodner, Member

"We oppose the use of computers in voting. As voters, we prefer paper ballots which we can mark ourselves. The New York City Council is doing the right thing to pass Resolution 131 to urge the use of real, voter-marked paper ballots, rather than invisible electronic ballots."


(18) Warbasse Social Action Group (A JPAC Unit), Deanna Roth and Walter Lasky, Co-Facilitators

"Public confidence in elections and our government requires elections that are open, observable, and easily-verified. Our voting system must not conceal vote handling by conducting it within a computer. We are pleased with the New York City Council for speaking on this issue at the heart of our democracy."


(19) New York StateWide Senior Action Council, Inc. New York City Chapter, Lani Sanjek

“Our New York City Board of Elections should be able to safeguard paper ballots easily and without causing public doubts about the honesty and propriety of our elections, but electronic voting has caused doubts as well as many lawsuits. Resolution 131 speaks for all New Yorkers, and we commend the New York City Council for passing it.”