Sari Joseph

April 24, 2006


Paper Ballots and Optical Scanners are a reliable, cost-effective, easily-audited, accessible voting technology with a long history of successful use in the United States.


My name is Sari Joseph, and I am a resident and voter in Manhattan. Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I have come here to urge you to take a clear position on the new voting technology we have to get.


I ask you to sponsor and work for immediate passage of Resolution 131 for paper ballots and optical scanners with ballot-marking devices for voters with special needs, and Resolution 228 for public testing before selection.


Paper ballots and optical scanner technology will be used for voting this year by 1678 counties, and 69 million voters, more than any other technology.1


Optical scanners have been in use for 20 years, and most jurisdictions that use them are keeping them or expanding their use.


Our New York City Board of Elections may not have looked closely at the use of optical scanners in other places, but New Yorkers for Verified Voting, a statewide election-integrity group, conducted a survey that gives us a realistic appraisal of the ease of use, low costs, minimal training needed, and ease of operation and maintenance.2


1. Jurisdictions that use paper ballots and optical scanners are completely satisfied with it.


2. It is easy to use and easy to understand for voters and poll workers.


3. It is easy to protect the security of paper ballots if you have the will to protect them, and allow observers from every party to keep watch over the procedures on election day and keep watch over the ballots once cast until the election is certified.


4. Voters with disabilities can directly mark their own paper ballot in a private and independent way on paper ballots, by using the accessible AutoMARK ballot-marking device which has been modified to work with a full-face paper ballot as required by New York law.


5. Voters with minority languages can be served by paper ballots printed in their language, but the AutoMARK can read the ballot to a voter in any language. To add a new language, a native speaker recites about 100 phrases into a microphone, and the phrases are recorded digitally, and used to read the ballot in that language.


In conclusion, I urge each Council Member to sponsor and work for immediate passage of Resolution 131. Thank you.