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"... touch-screen machines are highly vulnerable to being hacked or maliciously programmed to change votes. And they cost far more than voting machines should." --New York Times editorial, March 9, 2005

New York, 2003-2004


10. New York Editorials, News, Documents of 2003-2004

7.A. Minority Report

7.D. US Senate and House of Representatives

7.B. Citizens' Coalition

7.E. NY State Board of Elections

7.C. New Yorkers Making a Difference

7.F. Local Level

Important Statements, 2004 Mayor Bloomberg's Speech on Election Reform, 11/10/04 and commentary
Testimony of Douglas A. Kellner to the NYC Voter Assistance Commission on Dec. 7, 2004.

Legislation, 2004

On February 23, 2004, the NY State Assembly passed a package of bills on voting, including Assemblyman Keith Wright's Voting Systems Standards Act of 2004, A8847-A. For commentary on the bill, click here. On the same day, the NY State Senate passed Senator Thomas Morahan's Voting Machines Modernization Act of 2004, S6207 . The bills were quite different, although both required a voter-verified paper audit trail. These bills required a 2% and 3% surprise random recount of ballots, respectively.

Here is the text of S6207. with suggestions for greater security and transparency. However, our November 2 election experience warns us that once computers are used, election integrity is at peril, and these suggestions would be insufficient to protect us.

Because the Assembly and Senate bills were different, they needed to be reconciled. A HAVA Conference Committee briefly considered voting system standards in May, 2004, but was unable to continue.

As of December, 2004, next year's legislation is under consideration. Fast action may occur when the legislature convenes again in January. Voting systems are not likely to be considered until then.

The HAVA Conference Committee consisted of 5 Assemblymembers and 5 state Senators:

The Assemblymembers were:
Keith Wright, Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee
RoAnn Destito
Kevin Cahill
Helene Weinstein
William Barclay

The state Senators were:
Thomas Morahan, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Elections
Serphin Maltese
Nicholas Spano
George Maziarz
John Sabini

News, 2004

Lobbyists spent over $854,000 to push evoting in New York, New York Newsday, Dec. 19, 2004.

July 13, 2004, Rally in Albany

New Yorkers supported verified voting at a rally on the steps of the State Capitol Building in Albany, NY on Tuesday, July 13, on the nationwide "Computer Ate My Vote" Day of Action. The rally was organized by New Yorkers for Verified Voting (www.NYVV.org) and Common Cause NY. http://www.NYVV.org has the news and photo coverage. Speech by Teresa Hommel.

February 23, 2004

On February 23, 2004, the NY State Assembly passed a package of bills on voting, including Assemblyman Keith Wright's Voting Systems Standards Act of 2004, A8847-A. On the same day, the NY State Senate passed Senator Thomas Morahan's Voting Machines Modernization Act of 2004, S6207. The bills are quite different, although both require a voter-verified paper audit trail. The two bills must now be reconciled in a conference committee, which began working during the week April 25-30, 2004. Some are worried that New York might not finish the process in time to receive the HAVA money. The conference committee began considering voting system standards on Monday, May 24, 2004.

What to do -- Pick up the phone and call your state Assemblyperson and state Senator, and ask them to visit this web page and read the sections above. You can determine who represents you here.

The NY State Assembly's announcement of their legislative package on voting.

The press release Assembly Action Highlights, The Week Ending February 27, 2004, announces "Assembly Passes Election Reforms (HAVA) To Modernize NY Voting System."

Citizens Union Reports

The Citizens Union has prepared three reports about the packages of bills passed by the NY State Assemby and by the NY State Senate: Summary of the bills passed by each, Comparison of the bills passed by each, and an evaluation of the bills compared to the Citizens Union position .

News Reports

Watchdog Group Asks Albany to Give Budget Time to Breathe By Al Baker, The New York Times, July 9, 2004.

Albany Legislature Set to Adjourn Without a Budget, or Much Legislating By Michael Cooper, The New York Times, June 21, 2004.

A Legislator Committed to Election Reform By Lynda Richardson, The New York Times, May 20, 2004.

Disabled Protesters Block Doors at End of Hearing on Elections By Al Baker, The New York Times, May 19, 2004.

Voting Machines for New York Editorial, New York Times, May 18, 2004. As highly paid lobbyists have descended on Albany to fight for rules that favor the voting-machine companies that hired them, the Legislature has approached the critical question of voting machine standards in slow motion. ... To ensure the integrity of the voting system, the Legislature should require that all electronic voting machines in the state produce a voter-verifiable paper trail. It should also mandate manual audits of a reasonable percentage of the state's voting machines to check their tabulations against the paper records. The Legislature should also insist that manufacturers reveal their computer code to state and local officials to show that there are no software errors or secret instructions to steal votes.

Electronic Voting Plan For Apple Next Year By David Seifman, March 9, 2004. New York Post Online Edition.

The Times Union, Jan. 13, 2004, reported: "After eight months of stop-and-go negotiations, state Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed to reappoint Democrat Carol Berman to the state Board of Elections. Berman's two-year term as a commissioner expired in May, but Republican Gov. George Pataki refused to reinstate her.... That left the four-member body, usually evenly split with two Democrats and two Republicans, in GOP hands."

Newsday , Dec. 9, 2003, reported:
New York expects to receive about $140 million in federal money to replace its 19,800 mechanical voting machine under provisions of the HAVA legislation enacted in the wake of the 2000 election problems.
So far, the state has received $66 million from the HAVA program, but the money has been tied up in a dispute between the Democratic majority of the state Assembly and Republican Gov. George Pataki over control of the funds, the selection of new voting machines and voter identification requirements.
Lee Daghlian, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections, which is overseeing the HAVA process in New York, said Tuesday that the board hopes to issue a request for proposals to voting machine manufacturers by early next year. But Daghlian said federal officials must first set standards for such machines and he said the continuing disagreement between the administration and the Assembly's Democratic majority could also slow things down.
The new voting machines are supposed to be ready for the 2006 statewide elections.


10.A. New York State HAVA Implementation Task Force
Minority Report In Response to State Implementation Plan

The introduction to this document begins:

"The Help America Vote Act of 2002 ("HAVA") holds great promise to improve election administration in New York State. However, unless the law is properly implemented there is great peril that decades of long fought reforms to enfranchise the state's diverse populations will be thwarted at the polls. Peter S. Kosinski, Deputy Director of the State Board of Elections, acting on his own putative authority, issued a State Implementation Plan ("SIP" or "Plan") pursuant to section 254 of HAVA.

"For the reasons stated herein, several members of the Task Force now find it necessary to issue this minority report to address many issues not reached by the Final State Implementation Plan."

To read the entire report, click here.

State Senator Liz Krueger wrote Give Voters Easier Time at the Polls report called "Making Votes Count: The Help America Vote Act and the Future of Democracy in New York" which explains some of the problems and offers solutions.

Kathleen Brady reveals some of the problems: Election Reform in New York Is a Tough Call Newsday.com, September 25, 2003

More on the NY State Implementation Plan: New York submits thin-on-details vote overhaul plan Newsday.com, August 27, 2003.


10.B. Citizens' Coalition

The New York State Citizens' Coalition on HAVA Implementation and the Citywide Coalition for Voter Participation published a Statement of Principles on New Voting Machines For NY State. The statement calls for new voting machines to provide a "voter-verifiable paper audit trail" and incorporate "data-to-voice" technology to ensure full access by all. Your organization can endorse the statement.

Here is the December 9, 2003, press release announcing the Statement of Principles. News coverage included Newsday, The Times Union, Capital News 9, and WSTM-TV.

Testimony of the New York State Citizens' Coalition on HAVA Implementation on the Draft State Implementation Plan before the New York State HAVA Implementation Task Force on July 10, 2003.


10.C. News about New Yorkers Making a Difference!

Statement before the Governmental Operations Committee of the New York City Council, October 18, 2004.

Don't Hand Democracy Over to Computers UU World, November/December 2004.

The Poughkeepsie Journal reports that Expert doubts reliability of e-voting. December 18, 2003.

On October 10, 2003, the Schuyler County Legislature unanimously passed a resolution requesting New York State elected officials to amend our HAVA State Implementation Plan to require that all voting systems purchased by the State produce a voter-verifiable paper trail. We believe this is the first resolution of its kind in New York State. Ruth S. Young, Schuyler county legislator, publicized the issue and worked for its approval.

The PROBLEM With Electronic Voting Machines , a report by freedom@riseup.net.

The Ithaca Journal tells NY State to "Slow down and sweat the details" on State voting overhaul.

In September, 2003, the New York Women's Bar Association newsletter (PDF) published testimony presented by Teresa Hommel to the New York State Task Force on HAVA Implementation, and an article, "Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machines: Ease of Use vs. Ease of Computer-based Fraud."


10.D. US Senate and House of Representatives

House of Representatives

To speak to your Representative's office in Washington, call 1-800-839-5276, and ask for him or her by name.

A bill in the House of Representatives sponsored by Representative Rush Holt, H.R. 2239, "The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003," would require computerized voting machines used in the 2004 elections to provide a voter-verifiable paper trail, as well as accessibility for the disabled.

19 of New York's 29 Representatives are co-sponsors of HR 2239. They are Gary L. Ackerman, Timothy H. Bishop, Joseph Crowley, Eliot L. Engel, Maurice D. Hinchey, Steve Israel, Nita M. Lowey, Carolyn B. Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Michael R. McNulty, Gregory W. Meeks, Jerrold Nadler, Major R. Owens, Charles Rangel, Jose E. Serrano, Louise McIntosh Slaughter, Edolphus Towns Nydia Velazquez, and Anthony D. Weiner. If one of them represents you, please thank them (sample letter).

If your Representative is not a co-sponsor, please contact them via phone, email or fax and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor (sample letter). Send an email or fax to your Representative, courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

US Senate

To speak to your Senator's office in Washington, call 1-800-839-5276, and ask for him or her by name.

A bill in the US Senate sponsored by Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), S 1980, is a companion bill to Representative Rush Holt's HR 2239. Both bills have the same name, The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003, and the same text. We urge the passage of S 1980.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is a co-sponsor of S 1980.

Protest the RECORD Act co-sponsored by our own Senators Clinton and Schumer!

On March 10, 2004, Senator Clinton and Senator Bob Graham announced a new bill called the RECORD Act that would deal with security of electronic voting systems and election integrity. On April 8, 2004, Senator Bob Graham introduced the RECORD Act, number S 2313.

Unfortunately, RECORD does not require voter-verified paper ballots from all DREs in November, 2004, or the use of interim paper ballots that can be counted by hand or optical scanner. Instead, RECORD provides a back door for the states -- they can simply claim that it is impossible for them to comply with these requirements, and then they don't have to! This bill is an outrage!

RECORD is cosponsored by both Senators Clinton and Schumer.

Call Sen. Schumer's office, 1-800-839-5276, and ask him to withdraw support from RECORD and maintain his co-sponsorship of Senator Bob Graham's "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" S 1980.

Call Sen. Clinton's office, 1-800-839-5276, and ask her to withdraw support from RECORD and to co-sponsor Senator Bob Graham's "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act" S 1980.

More commentary on RECORD.

The RECORD Act is Senator Clinton's second failure to protect American voters and ensure integrity in our upcoming November, 2004 election. In December, 2003, Clinton introduced PADA, the Protecting American Democracy Act. PADA was vague and allowed but did not require voting machines to provide the capacity for independent audit of final tallies. We opposed PADA, and asked Clinton to make her bill the same as the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of Senator Bob Graham, S1980, and Representative Rush Holt, HR2239, or to co-sponsor Senator Bob Graham's bill. RECORD is her response.


10.E. State Board of Elections

NY State Board of Elections


10.F. Local Level

New York City Election Watch
Heard it at the Board I
Heard it at the Board II

Local governments can pass resolutions and lobby state officials.

One example is the Schuyler County (New York) Resolution for a Voter-Verified Paper Trail. On Tuesday, October 14th, 2003, the Schuyler County Legislature passed this resolution favoring voter-verified paper trail and urging New York State to include that in its HAVA implementation plan.

Another example is the New York City Council , in which Councilman Bill Perkins, Chair of the Governmental Operations Committee, introduced 8 resolutions supporting the 8 bills introduced at the state level and passed by the Assembly in 2003. The City Council passed all 8 resolutions on Sept. 30, 2003.

The resolution numbers are 1030-2003 through 1037-2003. Resolution 1037-2003 begins: "Resolution urging the Senate to pass and the Governor to sign the Voting Systems Standards Act of 2003 (A.8847), a bill that would implement certain mandates of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and drastically improve the electoral process in New York State by, among other things, establishing new standards for voting machines, ensuring access to the ballot by voters with disabilities, adopting a single state-wide voting machine through a competitive bidding process and requiring a voter verifiable audit trail."

To see the details about these resolutions, go to the web site of the City Council (see above). Pass your mouse over the word "Legislation" on the left. That will cause three choices to appear, and you can click on "Resolutions." Enter the resolution number in the box labeled "Search Resolutions" and click "Search." The page with your search results allows you to request to see the resolution itself, its sponsors, and other information.
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