Brooklyn-Queens NOW

www.brooklynqueensnow.org

Vice-President Sherry Rogers

January 29, 2007

 

My name is Sherry Rogers.I currently serve as the Vice-President of the Brooklyn-Queens Chapter of the National Organization for Women.We have been actively involved in monitoring the process used to select new voting technology for NY State since 2005.

 

We have reviewed the voting machines under consideration by the Board of Elections.We have tried using them at the demonstrations. We have observed paid volunteers using the equipment during the timing tests in Brooklyn in October, 2006.It is our conclusion that Paper Ballot and Precinct-Based Optical Scanners are the best of the available proposed technology.

 

Our reason are listed below, but in the interest of keeping this testimony brief I will rely on you to read the list, and not read it to you.

 

Suffragists fought for many years to get the vote. We donít want to turn our votes over to electronic voting systems, which close off the entire voting process from observation and keep citizens from understanding whatís going on. That kind of concealment turns elections in a sham. For these reasons, we urge you to pass Resolution 131 out of committee, and enable it to come to a vote in the full city council.  

 

Thank you.

 

Why we support paper ballots, precinct-based optical scanners, and ballot-marking devices for voters with disabilities or non-English languages:

        New York state law requires electronic voting machines to print a voter-verified paper audit trail, which puts New York ahead of many states.But just printing an audit trail does not tell us whether votes are being recorded correctly inside the computer. We need audits for that!The most reliable audit consists of a comparison between voter-marked paper ballots and the record produced by an optical scanner.

        A paper ballot allows each voter to see the entire ballot.Once marked, it assures each voter that the vote intended is the vote recorded.

        Poll workers and voters need to be familiar with the technology used.Optical scanners are simple and we've already been using them for years.DRE machines require considerable training both for poll workers, technicians, poll watchers and voters.

        The cost involved in purchasing and storing the equipment is a factor in how many will be purchased. Underestimating the number of machines needed will result in long wait times which disenfranchise many voters. Optical scanners cost far less than DREs; and also can serve more voters, so the issue of inadequate numbers of machines should not be a problem..

        On October 27th, 2006, members of Brooklyn Queens NOW observed testing of the proposed DRE equipment by the Board of Elections.We timed each volunteer voter from the moment they entered the booth until they left the booth.The average time taken for persons who received training ranged from 4.22 minutes to 6.15 minutes. We are concerned that voters will not have the luxury of one-on-one trainers to assist them with questions on Election Day. Voters will not have the luxury of unlimited time to wait to vote, to understand how to use the equipment, and to verify the vote cast.Long lines will disenfranchise voters.