Ronni Eisen


Statement in support of Resolutions 228 and 131

before Governmental Operations Committee


6. Demonstrate to the public the effectiveness of vendor documentation, training materials, and ability to train county staff by requiring the vendor to train Board of Elections staff, and Board of Elections staff to independently perform all tasks to prepare the test machines for the test including ballot programming, and to train election inspectors for the test, and to perform all post-election tasks to canvass the votes


My name is Ronni Eisen. Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today.


I have worked on many political campaigns, and I know what it means to work with the public, and to train staff as well as members of the public.


I am here to support Resolution 228, and especially to praise paragraph 6, which is quoted above. This is something we really need.


When people learn, how they learn and what they can learn is always based on what they already know. Among our American citizens and voters, we have a wide range of age, background and experience. This means that training will be a great challenge and will need great flexibility.


This is why we need to test the ability of any vendor to train elections staff Ė to communicate what we will have to know to use their equipment successfully. We will always have some people who canít find the on-off switch on a machine, but we will also have vendors who canít communicate this information.


This is why I also support Resolution 131, because filling in a bubble on a ballot will be a lot easier to teach people to do successfully. We should not use computers as a new form of poll tax Ė if you canít use the computer, you canít vote.


In contrast to DRE electronic voting systems, the AutoMARK ballot marking machine is so simple that I predict that people with a very wide range of abilities will be able to listen to the instructions and ballot in their own language and vote successfully.


For poll workers, paper ballots are even easier to handle than lever machines. We need to make the mechanics of voting as easy as possible, because people vote infrequently, and donít tend to remember the details from election to election.


For all these reasons, these two resolutions are important to the future of democracy in our city.


Thank you.