Rona Beame

January 29, 2007

I support Resolution 131.


I feel like the child standing on the sidewalk watching the emperor proudly parade down the street stark naked as all his courtiers applaud his new clothes.


It seems just as obvious to me that electronic touch screen machines are a bad choice.


Touch screen machines with printers do not have a reliable paper trail. When machines break down which they have a propensity to do, the paper trail disappears too. When machines are hacked, can we trust their printers? And not to be forgotten, the printers also have a record of jamming.


The National Institute of Standards and Technology says that voting systems should not rely on a machine's software to provide a record of the votes cast.


We donít even need other reasons to reject these machines but I must add these facts: They are more expensive, it takes longer for voters to use them which means longer lines at polling places, they break down more frequently and they take up more space in warehouses. Can anyone give me a good reason why we would choose touch screen machines over optical scanners?


I canít think of a single reason to do so.


If optical scanners are hacked or break down you can still determine what a voter intended. You have a piece of paper that the voter marked.


Governor Erlich of Maryland who suffered through several chaotic primaries and elections with Diebold touch screen machines said, "when in doubt go paper, go low tech."


Warren Stewart, policy director of VoteTrustUSA said, "We have a perfectly good system -- the paper-ballot optical-scan system."


I hope you agree.


Please pass Resolution 131 out of committee so it can be passed by the entire City Council.


Thank you.