State Board of Elections Meeting, 2/6/07

Notes from citizen observers


Dept of Justice:


Two meetings were held in Albany and New York City with election commissioners of large and small counties and DOJ to hear problems of implementation in 2007. DOJ will be setting up a future meeting with the State Board. DOJ is still interested in having some county somewhere in the state be HAVA compliant for Nov. 07, and/or the presidential primary in March 2008.  With certification testing suspended, that is remote.


Voter Registration Database:


A draft of regulations will be submitted for public comment soon (no date set).


George Stanton is working with OGS on vendor contracts. Some counties are resisting implementation until 2008. Stanton has been working with them to bring up to speed.


Sec. 6210 of the Voting Machine Standards:


The State Board's Election Operations division is working on Sec. 6210 of the Voting Machine Standards to develop procedures and acceptance testing procedures. Sec. 6210 (defining what constitutes a valid vote) is not completed.


FOIL Request Forms are now posted on the State Board website, available in HTML, or downloadable.


Campaign Finance:


Bill McCann, staff attorney, said that the burden of administering both local and state filings is stretching their nine staff people. In 2004, they had 1700 filers processed by six people; they now have 5 times the volume with the same number of staff.  They need more staff at the intake, inquiry and processing side before matters go to enforcement. Governor Spitzer's budget added 21 new positions to this division which is good, but the Legislature and the Governor have yet to agree.


Commissioners approved the automatic quadrennial increase in campaign contribution limits (tied to CPI).


Certification of equipment and Ciber's contract:


The four commissioners decided not to cancel the contract with Ciber at this time, but to continue reviewing the documents provided by the EAC and Ciber, deferring a decision on cancellation.


There was discussion of a proposal for additional funding of the certification process for up to $5 million to come out of the federal HAVA funds, 2007-08. Currently vendors are paying for the certification process and the rationale for state funding is that the costs are so substantial for the vendors that it becomes a barrier to exploration of new technologies which would benefit the voters.  Such action would also encourage smaller firms which might be able to compete. According to Commissioner Kellner, "there are strong public policy reasons to do so."


Liberty DRE with VVPAT:


The State Board has not been able to test this equipment to establish wherther it meets NY regulations requirements for verification by the voter and ability of the voter to change her vote subsequently after viewing the printout. The Liberty manual claims the machine can perform this function, but the machine's capability must be clarified before further testing occurs.  The commissioners agreed that formal communication with Liberty must occur.


There was no mention of the status of AIR study.


Minutes of all meetings:


Draft minutes of the commissioners' meetings are now posted on the State Board’s website within 48 hours of the meeting as well as approved minutes of the previous 12 months.