Hearing on Resolution 131

Governmental Operations Committee and Technology in Government Committee of the New York City Council

City Hall

Monday, January 29, 2007


Shera M. Katz


Thank you.


My name is Shera Katz and I've been a voter in the county of New York for over 20 years.  I've worked as a poll site poll worker since the fall of 2005.  When I work as a poll worker, it means a great deal to me to see our democracy in action.  I want to continue to see our democracy stay in action. I’m here to support paper ballot optical scanners over DREs.


Lincoln defined our government as being "of the people, by the people and for the people."   He did not define it as being   "of the vendors, by the vendors and for the vendors.” Every generation has its own challenge to keep democracy real and not just an illusion.  In our time, the challenge is to make sure that the tools we use to keep democracy working are the right tools for the job.


DRES are the wrong tool to record and count votes, because voters and observers can’t tell if the job is being done right. Security and voter confidence derive from observation and understanding what we observe. Legitimacy of elections derives from ordinary people being able to observe, understand, and attest that the voters were recorded and counted courrectly. DREs keep us from doing that.


This is why we now see “voter confidence” turned into a confidence game, as the public is asked if we “believe” or “trust” the DREs. This is a perversion of what voter confidence and election legitimacy mean.


This is too important a moment in our great city's history to let it pass without all of us showing where we stand.  New Yorkers have overwhelmingly expressed their support for optical scanners over DREs.  They have done this at the Board of Election Hearings, Community Council Meetings and through petitions.


Please stand with us.   Please vote Resolution 131 out of committee, and urge your colleagues to give it a unanimous passing vote. This is not the time for anyone to remain silent.


Thank you.