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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 2005


9. New York Editorials, News, Documents of 2005

What to do -- NYS, 2005

Full report.

Ballots can be printed anywhere, and competitive bidding must be used to get competitive prices. A new lie that is being spread is that ballots must be printed in NYS by one of only two printers.

Our new law requires machines to be certified by our state Board of Elections. Whether they will certify an optical scanner is an open question.

The law also requires that a single accessible voting machine be in place in each polling place by the 2006 elections. It waives the requirements for the replacing other machines until 2007. The majority of New York counties, many of which have a single lever machine per polling place, may go ahead with replacement of all equipment as soon as possible because they are worried about losing HAVA funding. We can expect most counties to proceed quickly in order to comply with the HAVA 2006 deadline.

New York City and other of our larger cities and counties may decide to wait, but if a DRE is brought into each polling place for accessibility this is a big foot in the door.

Election commissioners are asserting that the choice of what equipment to buy is theirs alone. The law may back them up on this.

Citizens must apply pressure in the only way we have - by actions of the appropriate budgetary authority to prevent expenditure of county money for electronic voting equipment. We must convince them to control the BOEs budget. All taxpayers will be on the line for the long term costs, and other programs and needs will be shortchanged if the BOEs purchase DREs require county money now, and also have a short lifetime and will need to be replaced within 5-8 years.

We must visit all members of our City Council, county executives, county legislatures, etc. Citizens also must meet with commissioners, and question commissioners in public forums.

County by county

Gov. Pataki signed the new voting systems bill on July 12, 2005. Lever voting machines are banned as of September 2007. Here are 45 Comments on the new law. The law uses paper ballot concepts to achieve computer security, which is ineffectual.

NYC Should Choose PBOS by WheresThePaper.org, June 26, 2005.

Albany Leaves Choice of New Voting Machines to Counties, New York Times, May 11, 2005.

The new law requires the state Board of Elections to certify both:
-- DREs (electronic touch-screen or electronic push-button "Direct Recording Electronic" machines)
-- paper ballots, optical scanners, and Automark ballot-marking devices for voters with special needs (the PBOS solution).

Citizens who want future elections to be meaningfully observable must now educate and lobby their
-- county executives
-- county legislators
-- county Board of Elections.

New York will have huge amounts of money to spend, and vendors are eager to sell their more expensive DRE systems instead of optical scanners which are less expensive and also are replaced less frequently.

In addition to larger profits from selling electronic systems, vendors are looking forward to lucrative maintenance and programming contracts.

New Yorkers for Verified Voting has produced materials that should be distributed to -- and discussed with -- all county officials.

a. Other jurisdictions already regret their evoting decisions: Miami Dade Dumps DREs due to lost ballots in 6 elections and overrun costs.
b. Editorial Endorsements of paper ballots and optical scanners in NY state newspapers.
c. Acquisition costs, DRE versus Optical Scan, county-by-county.
d. Continuing costs, DRE versus Optical Scan.
e. Survey: States with Paper Ballots and Precinct-based Optical Scanners totally love them!, May 1, 2005.
f. Paper ballot printing costs: 10 to 29 cents per ballot, not 75 cents or higher as DRE proponents have claimed. May 1, 2005.
g. How Many Paper Ballots Are Needed?
h. Sequoia got it wrong about the machines and the money. Here is the correct info.
i. Realistic questions to ask about DREs.

Reasons we oppose electronic voting:

1. New York should learn from the experience of other states and counties, where electronic voting systems have lost votes and cost millions of dollars more than expected.
97 pages of documented failures of vendors and their electronic voting systems
Miami-Dade's Elections Chief Says Urges Switch to Optical Scan, Sun Sentinel, May 28, 2005.
Paperless voting costs soar, MiamiHerald, May 26, 2005.
$4.6 million more per election in Miami-Dade county after switching to evoting.

2. The cost analyses from New Yorkers For Verified Voting shows that we can't afford it!

3. The missing security requirements in proposed state legislation show that electronic voting will not be used securely. It is better to use technology that people understand!

4. Communications capability in electronic voting systems will be uncontrollable, and every electronic ballot box will be open to tampering without leaving any trace of evidence.

5. FAQ, Frequently Asked Questions, Why Do Informed Citizens Oppose Electronic Voting?

Bo Lipari Reports for NYVV, 2005

Bo Lipari Reports, 2005

Bo Lipari Report, 11/2/05, Draft Voting System Standards Passed Today.

Bo Lipari Report, 9/23/05, Citizen's Advisory Panel expected to be named at State Board Oct. 3 meeting.

Bo Lipari Report, 6/21/05, New legislation announced.

Bo Lipari Report, 6/9/05.

Bo Lipari Report, 6/1/05, Can NY learn from Miami Dade's mistakes? They may dump their evoting machines and get Paper Ballots and Optical Scanners due to lost ballots in 6 elections and overrun costs.

Editorial Endorsements of paper ballots and optical scanners in NY state newspapers.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/26/05, What is Sequoia saying about NYVV, and what is the truth.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/21/05, What to do now to work with our individual counties.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/11/05, Albany delegates equipment choices to state Board of Elections and individual counties.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/4/05, NYS Board of Elections Annual Meeting, May 3 in Syracuse, and press coverage.

NYVV Press Conference at NYS Board of Elections Annual Meeting, May 3 in Syracuse.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/2/05, Critique of NYC Board of Elections' March draft comparison of voting technology costs.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/1/05, Extra Calls to Albany Needed NOW!

Bo Lipari Report, 5/1/05 Report on paper ballot printing costs, and preliminary survey of states using precinct-based optical scanners.

Bo Lipari Report, 4/27/05 Join NYVV on May 3 in Syracuse for State BOE Meeting
Bo Lipari Report, 4/18/05 What needs to be done!
Press Conference, 4/13/05.
Bo Lipari Report, 4/8/05
Bo Lipari Report, 3/28/05
Bo Lipari Report, 3/22/05
Bo Lipari Reports on the NYC Board of Elections' draft cost comparison of 3/11/05. Here is a critique of inaccuracies in the draft, 5/02/05.
New York City Board of Elections draft preliminary cost comparison analysis, 3/11/05
NYVV.org's "Comparing Annual Costs, DRE versus PBOS"
Bo Lipari Report, 3/20/05
NYVV.org's "Questions to ask about DRE Systems", 3/20/05
Bo Lipari Report, 3/18/05
Bo Lipari Report, 3/15/05

Documents of 2005

Paper ballot, Optical Scan bills in NY State Legislature:
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef's A6503
State Senator John Sabini's S5625

WNYC show with Bo Lipari discussing PBOS on the Brian Lehrer Show:
go to http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/episodes/12282005, Scroll down to "How Will You Vote in 2006?" (2nd segment) , click on Listen, or you can download an MP3. Then call or email the station to thank them for covering this issue, ask them to have Bo on the air again to focus more attention on this important issue. You can contact WNYC at 212 669-3333 or listenerservices@wnyc.org

Merits of Optical Scan Voting by David Orr, Cook County Clerk (Illinois). Mr. Orr corrects arguments that NYVV has heard against scanners in NY. For example, Mr. Orr reports "Hundreds of overlapping voting districts in suburban Cook County result in split precincts that contain multiple ballot formats." Cook County has purchased Sequoia scanners. Many items on his list, and the 4 data tables showing the lowest rates of residual (fall-off) votes for scanners compared to DREs, directly refute what Sequoia has been saying about scanners here in NY.

12/21/05 -- National Alert!
Bush installs voter suppression specialist in the FEC (Federal Election Commission), Hans von Spakovsky.
He is a long-time activist in keeping people away from the polls. His ideas led to the notorious purge of Florida's voting rolls before the 2000 election in which thousands of eligible Democratic minority voters were removed from the voting lists. Von Spakovsky also was a volunteer for Bush in the Florida recount.
FEC Commissioners are subject to Senate approval, so write or call our two US Senators, Clinton and Schumer.
Hearings on FEC nominees are supposed to be held by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. The current Chair is Trent Lott. Ranking Democrat: Christopher Dodd. Other Democrats are Byrd, Inouye, Feinstein, Schumer, Dayton, Durbin, and Ben Nelson; other Republicans are Ted Stevens, Mitch McConnell, Thad Cochran, Santorum, K.B. Hutchison, Frist, Chambliss, Bennett, and Hagel.
Bush used "recess appointments" to install his nominees without any hearings. Call your local media and alert them they can criticize it, as the NY Times did:
Conspiring Against the Voters, New York Times Editorial, Dec. 31, 2005.

Fixing Elections for Fun and Profit Dec. 19, 2005. Information Technologist recommends paper ballots. "Trustworthy vote counting is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. It's essential to any free country. The sloppy code and ludicrous back doors found in some computerized election equipment should be a wake-up call for all Americans -- and an object lesson to businesses everywhere in how not to outsource programming."

Hypocrisy of the State Comptroller: Although the choice of voting technology carries huge implications for current and future expenses, our state comproller has not bothered to examine the issue from a cost perspective. Here is his Debt Affordability Study, published December 2005. Citizen's Union, a good government group, says "New York State’s debt is the highest in the nation in key ways, and everything has gotten worse in the five years since the passage of the so-called Debt Reform Act, which has been “ineffective,” according to a report by State Comptroller Alan Hevesi. Loopholes in the law have allowed the state’s debt (currently at $98.2 billion, with plans to issue an additional $19.6 billion in state-funded debt over the next five years) to grow faster than either New York’s income or population. The comptroller’s “Debt Affordability Study” recommends limiting debt and creating an independent “Debt Management Board” to make the state’s elected officials more accountable.
Suggestion: Call the state Comproller's office and suggest he look at the cost implications of NY counties' decisions on voting system technology.

NYS Election Commissioners' Association Winter Conference, Jan. 17-20, Cooperstown NY. Deadline for registration is 12/23/05.

The situation as of January 4, 2006:
1. New State Law
The new state law on voting systems is called the "Election Reform and Modernization Act" or ERMA. It was signed into law 7/12/05. ERMA requires DREs to have a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Record, but does not require the electronic tallies to be the same as the paper tallies (the electronic tallies will be used unless 100% of the paper audit record is counted). ERMA requires each county and the City of New York to select either DREs or PBOS as their new voting technology. ERMA delegated most other decisions to the State Board of Elections.
ERMA requires each poll site to have an accessible device by 2006, and counties can replace the rest of their lever machines by 2007. Problems with this are:
--HAVA allows no extension to 2007. No one knows how the Federal Dept. of Justice will react to a partial implementation by 2006. Responses could be (a) doing nothing, (b) taking back the HAVA funds we received for machines, (c) take action to invalidate NY's federal elections.
--Many counties, worried about losing HAVA funds, are hoping to replace all their levers, regardless of NYS requirements. Due to the late time, no one knows if a county could replace all their levers in time.
--If counties buy only one machine per poll site for accessibility, most counties at this time would pick a DRE, not a scanner/ballot marker. After that, it would be difficult to prevent the rest of their levers being replaced by DREs.
2. NY State Board of Elections accepted comments until 1/23/06 on its draft Voting Systems Standards (for certification of voting system)
See details in section 1 above.
3. ES&S promised to submit their Automark and OpScan System for NY state certification
On 11/21/05 ES&S announced at a New York City Council hearing that they would submit their Optical Scan systems and the Automark for NY State certification. They announced pricing:
Optical Scanner $5500
Automark $5500
Full-face DRE in the range $9000-$10,000.
This was not the first time that they announced the news. Amanda Brown, a spokesperson for ES&S, was quoted in a Syracuse Post Standard article in early November that ES&S was prepared to offers the voters (of NYS) a choice. Upon inquiry by a member of the League of Women Voters New York State, Ken Fields, another ES&S spokesperson, said "ES&S intends to submit their op scan equipment for certification and is tailoring their op scan technology to fit New York State's election law requirements" (by which he meant the full-face ballot requirement).

Barbara Murphy describes 7500 vote discrepancy in Saratoga County in her testimony before the Assembly Committee on Election Law, 12/13/05.
. . . DREs (Direct Recording Electronic voting systems) are currently used in the part of Saratoga County where I live. Last November I asked the County Board for the official records of the 2004 county election results. After waiting about a month at the County Board's request so that they could officially compile the information, I collected the records. When I reviewed the presidential election results, it showed that there were 7500 more votes than voters. When I questioned the County Board about this, I was told to come back to pick up revised final results and was given a second package of information, then a third set of numbers. In each package of information, the number of voters became much closer to the number of votes, but when I asked why, no explanation was given to me.
. . . Is it possible that the computerized voting systems in Saratoga County did what they have done in other jurisdictions around our country - created "phantom votes" due to programming errors?
. . . I would argue that one of the major downsides of computerized voting, even if accompanied by a paper 'trail' is that there is no way to uncover what is going on inside the computer with any degree of certainty. I challenge the legality of not having direct voter intent to review via a hand-marked paper ballot.

Douglas A. Kellner Appointed as Co-Chair of the New York State Board of Elections, 12/9/05.

Village Independent Democrats Voting Machine Resolution of December 8, 2005.

New York could buy Liberty Systems cheap! The Irish Times reports a suggestion for how to get rid of Ireland's Liberty machines:
"Will the Minister find some place, such as Zimbabwe or Florida, which may need the assistance these machines could provide? The machines could be sold as a job lot, and we could at least cut our losses."
Overview of Liberty machines in Ireland (where they are known by the name "Nedap") Ireland canceled the use of Nedap voting machines after an independent commission said the secrecy and accuracy of the voting could not be guaranteed.
One of Liberty's claims to election commissioners who know so little about computers that they can barely send an email is that Liberty systems are more secure than their competitors because "they use FIRMWARE, not SOFTWARE" so their systems cannot be corrupted. If firmware could prevent insider tampering and outside hacking, that would be wonderful. Unfortunately, it is not true.
NEDAP in Europe . Click on a country, some have good information. The voting machine being marketed is the Power Vote. (A free translation website http://www.worldlingo.com )

Testimony of Teresa Hommel at the Hearing by the Assembly Standing Committee on Election Law, Tuesday, December 13, 2005.

Choose PBOS, not DREs, a list of materials, 11/25/05. Word doc version.

Nov. 21, 2005, hearing by NY City Council Governmental Operations Committee
1. Testimony of Teresa Hommel on calculation of acquisition costs, PBOS versus DREs; and criticism of the State Board's Draft Regulations on Voting Systems Standards.
2. Testimony of Diana Finch on the need to ban communications capability.
3. Questions For Vendors
4. ES&S brought their full-face DRE, the Automark, and their Optical Scanner. They said they would be submitting the Automark and Optical Scanner for NY State Certification. They announced pricing: DRE $9000-$10,000. Automark $5500. Optical Scanner $5500.

Paper Ballot Reports, from NYVV.

Budget Meeting Talking Points, Nov. 13 from NYVV Other Paper Ballot Reports

While We Weren't Looking, NY Times says State Board must make sure OpScan systems will be state certified. Nov. 13, 2005.
Letter to Editor from Aimee Allaud of the NYS League of Women Voters. "The best available technology at this time is precinct-based paper ballot optical scan voting equipment." Nov. 20, 2005.

The Requirements of New York's "Full-Face Ballot" Law. Brennan Center Word doc, 11/16/05.

Disability demographics in NYC from Gotham Gazette, Nov. 3, 2005.

Disenfranchisement of Minority Voters, published 9/21/05
New Mexico canvass data shows higher undervote rates in minority precincts where pushbutton DREs were used.
Paper ballots tabulated by optical scan systems had nearly identical presidential undervote rates for all ethnicities, but where the Danaher Shouptronic and Sequoia Advantage pushbutton paperless electronic voting machines were used:
-- Hispanic precincts averaged more than 3% higher presidential UV rates than Anglo precincts
-- Native American precincts averaged more than 5.5% higher presidential UV rates than Anglo precincts.

Automated Tests Cannot Ensure that DREs Work, Sept. 26, 2005.

Public Employees Federation (PEF) resolution Opposing Privatizing Public Elections, passed Sept. 21, 2005.

Sequoia has signed a contract for Jaco to build 3000 voting systems. Sequoia's new system, the EDGE 2, would not be federally-certified and indeed, the use of a new design would mean many problems with the software and the display screen that would be first noticed by voters on election day.
Relevance to New York: The new four-screen machines that Sequoia is showing in New York state represent a new product, of which there are 10 being built now, that has never been examined, much less certified, anywhere.
New York Business: Jaco Gets Touch-screen Voting Machine Deal Sept. 14, 2005.
Business Wire: Jaco To Make Sequoia Flat Panel Display for Chicago, and 10 full-face displays for states like NY that have a full-face requirement. Sept. 14, 2005.

EAC Advisory on Lever Machines, September 8, 2005

Has our state Board of Elections gone lawless, intending to certify "vaporware" (non-existent machines) based on vendor claims that they will manufacture and deliver them? There is no way the state BOE can properly examine vaporware and determine that it can "safely and properly" be used by voters in our elections. Aug. 16, 2005.

NYVV report, Aug. 19, 2005.

Liberty Election System brochure. At this time Liberty provides no VVPB capability and meets only the simplest accessibility standards. It does not comply with the new state law ERMA

Our NY State Board of Elections may be conducting a deliberate campaign of "disinformation." Here is a letter mailed on 8/15/2005 by Wayne Stinson.

The two election commissioners of Delaware County misrepresented the facts in a Guest Commentary in The Daily Star in Oneonta, NY, August 30, 2005. This two page document has their commentary and corrections of their facts from NYVV.org.

Online Petition

Paper Petition -- print, get signed, present copies of it to county election commissioners, county executives, county legislators and/or budget committees.

Choose PBOS, one-page list of reasons. Works well with
NYC Should Choose PBOS, a 3-page list of reasons and documentation.

The audit of voter-verified records in Nevada, 2004.

New voting standards law, signed by Gov. Pataki on July 12, 2005.
45 Comments on the new law "ERMA" (Election Reform and Modernization Act).

Election Commissioners' Assn. of the State of New York report on voting machines contains shocking distortions of fact! June, 2005.
NYVV's critique and correction of their errors.

Paper Ballot Concepts In a Computerized World, ineffectual security requirements in the new law, June 26, 2005.

Mayor's Election Modernization Task Force July 1, 2005 report, "Preparing To Introduce New Voting Machines In The City Of New York"

Comment on the new bill by the Times Union, June 21, 2005.

Accessible and Verifiable Voting Technology: A Feature Comparison Verified Voting Foundation, June 21st, 2005.

Buyer Beware:
US Embassy in Venezuela revokes visa of Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mujica October 16, 2005
How it Works: Venezuela's New Voting Machines, June 15, 2004.
Who is Sequoia's new owner, Smartmatic?
Sequoia Voting gets a new President August 26, 2005.
VCRISIS, Venezuelan News and Analysis
Smartmatic: all things connected by Aleksander Boyd, Vcrisis.
About Smartmatic Does the info below, from their website, increase your confidence that their voting equipment will function as a secure ballot box?

Our vision drives our mission: we envision a world in which everything will be connected-and we are actively working to materialize the future now.

We develop embedded and enterprise software that links many kinds of devices from a wide range of existing networks, allowing them to quickly connect and simultaneously execute millions of tasks, irrespective of their complexity level.

This enables our users to access, control and manage device-networking tools and applications in a simple and low-cost way.

In addition, we provide advanced computing and connectivity capabilities that can make any conventional device a "smart device."

More about Smartmatic
Smartmatic news
Did they sell networked lottery terminals for use as voting machines?
Tulio Alvarez Report on Fraud.
Now that Smartmatic owns Sequoia, what happened in Venezuela is important because it bears on the reputation and possible wrongdoing of Smartmatic and its personnel.
Venezuela - The vote is secret
Harvard's Hausmann & MIT's Rigobon speak out about Venezuela's electoral fraud
Carter Center on Venezuela's referendum: With observers like these, who needs them?

Miami Dade's Supervisor of Elections explains how he can save the county $13.21 million over the next 5 years by dumping $24.5 million worth of touch-screen voting systems and switching to optical scan.

What percentage of "surprise random audits" would be effective in finding problems? Demo by Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite.org.

Merits of Optical Scan Voting by David Orr, Cook County Clerk (Illinois), Cook County Election Dept., May 26, 2005

Bo Lipari Report, 6/1/05, Can NY learn from Miami Dade's mistakes? They may dump their evoting machines and get Paper Ballots and Optical Scanners due to lost ballots in 6 elections and overrun costs.

Miami-Dade's Elections Chief Says Urges Switch to Optical Scan, Sun Sentinel, May 28, 2005.

Bo Lipari Report, 5/26/05, What is Sequoia saying about NYVV, and what is the truth.

Ban Communication Capability in Voting and Vote-tabulating Equipment!

Does ES&S Really Want To Sell Automark Machines?.

Paperless voting costs soar, MiamiHerald, May 26, 2005.

Videos and photos showing paper ballots and optical scanners:
Paper ballots and Accuvote optical scanner Video
Paper ballots and Optech optical scanner Video
Optical Scan Voting Systems Video
Sequoia Optech Optical Scan Machine
ES&S Optical Scanner
Optical Scanner in use in Detroit

AutoMARK completes federal certification testing. Press Release, May 9, 2005.
Press Release, June 23, 2005.

Montana bill requires use of paper ballots in all elections. Bill text.

Albany Leaves Choice of New Voting Machines to Counties, New York Times, May 11, 2005.

Editorial Endorsements of paper ballots and optical scanners in NY state newspapers.

County-by-county acquisition costs, DRE versus Optical Scan.
Total acquisition:
Electronic voting $230,473,000
Optical Scan $114,423,640
SAVINGS from Optical Scan $116,049,360

Paper ballot printing costs: 10 to 29 cents per ballot, not the higher costs DRE proponents have claimed. May 1, 2005.

How Many Paper Ballots Are Needed?

Survey of States Using Precinct-based Optical Scanners, May 1, 2005.

False start -- NYC Board of Elections' Draft Cost Comparison, March 2005.
Better numbers -- NYVV corrects the draft, May 2005.

After Miami-Dade county switched to evoting, they spent $4.6 million more per election.

Advantages of Paper Ballots and Precinct-based Optical Scanners

Who is Doug Lewis? His organization accepts money from evote vendors, controls certification of their equipment, and spoke to our election commissioners on May 3 at their Syracuse meeting without anyone to balance his advocacy of "trust" in unverified computers.

Assembly Bill A6503. Our election law already has provisions for voting by paper ballot. This bill would mandate statewide use of paper ballots and precinct-based optical scanners, with the accessible Automark ballot-marking machine for use by voters with disabilities as well as other voters who wish to use it. WE SUPPORT THIS BILL! Scan and Be Sure Campaign, April 14 News Release.

Bo Lipari Reports from Albany!

Putnam County Resolution, passed unanimously April 5, 2005. Many resolutions have now been passed. Philipstown Resolution.
League of Women Voters of New York State supports optical scan voting systems, 3/9/05.
Editorials and News Articles
County Cost Comparison, Evoting versus Paper Ballots in Florida.
Greenburgh Resolution passes unanimously, Feb. 23, 2005.
FAQ -- Frequently Asked Questions, Why Do Informed Citizens Oppose Electronic Voting? April 12, 2005.
Missing from A5 and S1809 - Minimum Safeguards for Secure Elections, 1-page list.
Assembly Bill A5, the Voting System Standards Act of 2005 with commentary
Senate Bill S1809, the Voting Machines Modernization Act of 2005 with commentary
Flyer listing key people, how to contact them, and our message.
Flyer targetting Senator Flanagan.
Petition to key people.
Sample letters to Pataki, Bruno, Flanagan, Silver, and Wright.
NYVV.org is leading the fight for paper ballots with precinct-count optical scanners. Please go to their site and take the suggested actions!
Cost comparison, evoting vs. paper ballots and optical scanners.

NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, "Voting Matters II: No Time to Waste", Feb. 7, 2005 Report
Comment on Spitzer's Report -- although his staff was given material on the vulnerabilities of computers and the problems that had occurred already, he followed the good government line of that time, which was that computers would facilitate access for voters with disabilities and minority languages, and that the warnings of computer scientists and professionals only showed that geeks didn't understand the importance of access to the vote for traditionally disenfranchised people.

Lobbyists spent over $854,000 to push evoting in New York, NY Newsday, Dec. 19, 2004.
Vendors, Lobbyists, Money: Vendors' Lobbying Firms, Bills Lobbied, Lobby Subjects, Money Spent. Chart from Common Cause/NY, 12/04.
Electronic Voting--Why It's Bad for Democracy by Teresa Hommel, April 9, 2005
Myth Breakers: Facts About Electronic Elections, Second Edition.

English Proficiency and the Eligible Voter Pool, Peter Lobo, Population Division, NYC Dept. of City Planning, presented to the NYC Board of Elections during summer, 2005.

Editorials in The New York Times and many other newspapers recommend PBOS (paper ballots with precinct-based optical scanners and ballot-marking devices for voters with disabilities or minority languages).

Lies and a sense of blind urgency dominate the news, however.

One lie is that federal or state requirements force counties to switch to DREs (electronic voting), and that PBOS is not HAVA-compliant. Meanwhile hundreds of other states and individual counties are switching to PBOS as their HAVA-compliant choice.

The second lie is that PBOS is more expensive. In fact, PBOS costs one-half to one-third what DREs cost, for purchase, transition, and continuing use. See cost info under New Stuff. Meanwhile, NO ONE in our legislature, Attorney General, State Comptroller, state Board of Elections, or county Boards of Elections has yet completed an unbiased analysis of costs. Compare our Election Commissioners 20-page shameful slanted report to NYVV.org's 8-page correction of their errors!

The third lie is that DREs are more manageable than PBOS. The recent last-minute switch to PBOS in Erie County proves otherwise! Other than the County Board of Elections refusing to count the ballots in a timely manner, there was no problem whatsoever. Voter training took a few seconds ("Mark in the bubble next to your candidate").

"Act fast" is a con man's mantra. Our legislature was urged to move quickly and without appropriate evaluation, and now our State Board of Elections are too rushed to look at the problems in other states and come up with Voting Systems Standards that will protect us from the disasters other states have experienced in their electronic elections (thousands of lost votes and extra votes, switched votes and other machine failures).

Are news editors and reporters incapable of understanding the issues? Are they unwilling to ask hard question when vendors or public officials make false claims? Not all of them! We must continue to educate the press, all elected and appointed officials, and other citizens!

December 2005

NY to miss voting deadline, Finger Lake Times, Dec. 30, 2005. Notice how easily the spokesman for the State Board of Elections "rewrites" history to makes it seem like the State Board has been receptive to public input. "After months of public hearings and expert testimony, the board released a set of preliminary specifications," he says. Here is a press release from Nov. 2 (incorrectly dated Sept. 15 on NYPIRG's web site) which refutes him.

E-voting Challenges Arise As Compliance Deadline Nears, The New Standard, Syracuse NY, Dec. 27, 2005. Summarizes national problem -- the machines are revealed to be insecure and expensive, but the law is being used to force jurisdictions to acquire them anyway.

Rules for machines draw fire, Syracuse Post Standard Dec. 21, 2005. Quotes Bo Lipari of NYVV.org and Aimee Allaud of LWV NYS. Incorrectly announces hearing in Putnam County, Jan. 14. A hearing will be held on Thursday, Jan. 12.

Speakers Vote No on Electronic Ballots, Times Union, Dec. 17, 2005. Covers the State Board hearing on voting systems standards in Albany, held on Dec. 16.

Fixing the Game, New York Times Editorial, Dec. 5, 2005.

Let the battle begin, Syracuse.com, Dec. 4, 2005, on hearings on the State Board of Elections' draft Voting System Standards.

November 2005

Vote of No Confidence, by Jarrett Murphy, Village Voice, Nov. 29, 2005.

Get the vote right, Elmira Star Gazette Editorial, November 20, 2005.
New York is headed for trouble if counties don't have voting-machine choices.
. . . A year from now Twin Tiers voters and the rest of New York will walk into polling places and cast their ballots on new machines. But what kind will they be, and when voters walk out how certain can they be that their votes have counted?
. . . The credibility of that 2006 vote and the ones in succeeding years rest with the New York State Board of Elections, which appears to be on a misguided path toward forcing statewide use of touch-screen machines that are not only excessively expensive but too flawed to ensure reliability.
. . . Each county should have the option to choose the touch-screen machines, as flawed as they are, or the more reliable optical-scan machines that we have endorsed because they are more cost-efficient and credible for Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties.

While We Weren't Looking, NY Times says State Board must make sure OpScan systems will be state certified. Nov. 13, 2005.
Letter to Editor from Aimee Allaud of the NYS League of Women Voters. "The best available technology at this time is precinct-based paper ballot optical scan voting equipment." Nov. 20, 2005.

Voting-rights group rallies for paper-ballot machines, Legislative Gazette, Nov. 14, 2005.

Group rallies in support of paper ballot option, Machine companies favor electronic models. Poughkeepsie Journal, Nov. 8, 2005. The reporter got it right, only the vendor was supporting DREs.

Group dismayed at State's Voting Machine Choice, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Nov. 8, 2005.

State's Lack Of Paper Ballot Option Viewed As Big Mistake, Ithaca Journal, Nov. 8, 2005.

Reform Coalition Gives Support To Optical-Scan System for voting, Staten Island Advance, Nov. 8, 2005.

Voting Rights Groups Support Paper Ballots, WXXI, Albany NY, Nov. 7, 2005.

Rally Against Electronic Voting System, Capital News 9, Nov. 7, 2005.

Better than the lever?, Newsday, Nov. 3, 2005, asks the big question.

No machine perfect; Optical scan the best, Post Standard, Nov. 1, 2005. Letter to the Editor by Wanda Warren Berry, Board of Directors, New Yorkers for Verified Voting.

October 2005

Election Costs to Rise Next Year, Times Union, Oct. 18, 2005. Local officials face high costs for DREs, but has anyone told them how much less PBOS is?

Ballots Are Far From Cast, Times Union, Oct. 16, 2005. Liberty System, State Board's attitude, Witko family history.

Paper Ballots Get the Vote For Accuracy, Times Union, Oct. 13, 2005. Many speakers addressed Albany county legislators to support PBOS.

Town Tab For Voting To Double, Daily Freeman, Oct. 13, 2005. Many officials prefer PBOS.

Clarence Norman: Democratic Leader's Demise Followed His Organization's Slide, New York Times, Oct. 2, 2005.

September 2005

Clarence Norman Convicted, Sept. 28, 2005

Pressure mounts in growing voting machine controversy, Mid-Hudson News Network, Sept. 23, 2005. Citizens demand to be heard.

Altmann Supports Paper Ballot Optical Scanner Voting Machines They Are Less Costly and Leave a Paper Trail. Manhasset Press, ONLINE EDITION September 23, 2005.

Letter to Editor, Evoting lacks enough Safeguards, Star-Gazette, Elmira, NY, September 16, 2005, from Cal Brewer of Elmira.

Commissioners Say Villages and School Districts Are Excluded from HAVA Requirements, The Citizen, Auburn, NY, Sept. 7, 2005.

Optical scan system safest, but gets unfair rap by wrong information., Future of voting at stake. Star-Gazette, Elmira, NY, September 4, 2005, GUESTVIEW by Susan Multer of Horseheads, NY.

Erie County Budget Woes Reach Into Voting Sites, Newsday, Sept. 13, 2005. Pay attention to how this article plants wrong ideas about paper ballots.
(1) the voting booths were made of cardboard secured with duct tape, implying that they were shoddy. But maybe voting is essentially simple, and we don't have to complicate it by the use of computers.
(2) "Welcome back to the 19th Century" -- implying that if something is old, it's bad. But if it's not broken, why fix it?
(3) Officials said that counting the votes could take two to three weeks. But it could take very little time if they asked the parties to submit counters and observers, and set up tables and let them count by hand.
(4) The Republican County Executive said that the Board of Elections could do the same work with half the staff or less. Sounds like they are frugal. When they get rid of their lever voting machines, are they planning to switch to PBOS systems, which cost less for purchase, transition, and continuing use?
(5) They had to show voters how to use the paper ballots. It sounds like it might have been unfamiliar to some voters, but could we know how long that "voter training" took? More than 4 seconds? "You mark in the circle next to the candidate you are voting for." "Okay."
(6) Comments about "a return to the stone ages" -- No comments about "if it costs half as much and is easier to manage, why don't we do this all the time?" or just not reported?
(7) Poll "workers found the paper, which voters dropped into a locked box, simpler to handle than the machines." Good to know.
(8) "Sheriff Timothy Howard said his department will guard all ballots until they are counted. The ballots will be stored in a locked room at the board, with a deputy holding the room's lone key." Hard to believe that the BOE has a room with a lock and only one key. It is better to have multipartisan observers sitting there with the deputy, so that s/he is not tempted. Law enforcement officials are human too.

Rockland To Look At Optical Scanner Voting Machines, Journal News, Sept. 2, 2005.

August 2005

Nassau Urged To Buy Election Ballot Scanners Newsday, Aug. 26, 2005.

Machine or Paper?, Erie County will use paper ballots in the primary in some towns due to lack of money. Aug. 25, 2005.

Vote still out on voting machines By ANDREW BROWN, Oneida Dispatch Staff Writer, 08/12/2005.

The Otsego County Board of Elections plans to have a demonstration of voting machines for the public and county board, possibly on Sept. 28.

Wait And Hurry Up, New York State Lags In Picking New Voting Machines. by Elizabeth Cady Brown, 08/11/2005, Long Island Press.

Register vote for optical scanners by Barbara Murphy, Times Union, August 7, 2005. She says it all!

July 2005

Which way to vote Counties should seek public input on what kind of new voting machines to use. Star-Gazette Editorial, July 7, 2005

Has the NYC Board of Elections already made a decision to switch to Evoting? John Ravitz, Executive Director, insists that the board's planning is well underway and that it intends to hire a consultant to help with the conversion to modern electronic voting systems by September. Could he mean optical scanners and Automarks? No! Because the article says the Board needs $100 million for new electronic equipment, which is the cost of DREs. PBOS would cost about one third.

Speaker backs optical scan voting Star-Gazette, July 6, 2005.

Future of the 'ballot box' on display in Oswego County The Valley News (Greater Fulton Area, Oswego River Valley in Central NY) July 2, 2005

Panel urges elections board to hire consultant for vote-machine switch Newsday, July 1, 2005, on Mayor Bloomberg's Task Force.

June 2005

The Case for Optical Scan Voting Technology, by John Nussbaum, The Newtown Bee, June 30, 2005. Connecticut faces decisions about Levers, OpScan, and Evoting.

Verified Voting advocate explains voting machine options By Penny Stickney, OneidaDispatch.com, 06/30/2005.

Voting soon to go high-tech by Joseph Mallia, New York Newsday, June 24, 2005.

State passes voting machine bill by Sujata Gupta, Fingerlake Times, June 23, 2005.

Pulling plug on levers by Errol A. Cockfield Jr, New York Newsday, June 23, 2005.

Announcement of 2 reports about last year's election in NYC.
A Survey of Conditions at the Polls in New York City by NYPIRG.

Officials will meet to discuss pros, cons, The Daily Star, 6/8/05.

Editorial Endorsements of paper ballots and optical scanners in NY state newspapers.

May 2005

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle tells Legislature to Hurry Up, May 29, 2005. Does this paper check any facts? "the state Board of Elections has said it will take at least 18 months to purchase and install 20,000 new machines across the state" they report, but in 2003 Boston switched from lever voting machines to PBOS in 4 months.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle buys Sequoia's story, May 29, 2005

Miami-Dade's Elections Chief Urges New System, Sun Sentinel, May 28, 2005.

Paperless voting costs soar, Miami Herald, May 26, 2005.

Mike: Scrap Paper Trail For Vote Booths, New York Post, May 21, 2005.
Mayor Bloomberg Says No Paper Trail Is Necessary With Electronic Voting, New York 1 News, May 21, 2005.
The Mayor's opinion differs from his opponents and some experts, Newsday, May 20, 2005.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg goes to the dark side. Do you think he knows that electronic voting with no paper trail means that elections lack legitimacy (because they are unobservable and unverifiable, and they enable errors and fraud to go undetected)? You bet he knows! Only Newsday mentions that "experts" might be saying something else.

Optical scan voting: Albany can't decide, so Tompkins should , EDITORIAL, Ithaca Journal, May 13, 2005.

The Machines of Politics, Well Greased, New York Times, May 12, 2005.

Albany Leaves Choice of New Voting Machines to Counties, New York Times, May 11, 2005.

The sensible choice for voting reform, Editorial, The Post-Standard (Syracuse), Friday, May 6, 2005.

NY Daily News endorses Paper Ballots and Optical Scanners, May 5, 2005.

Gridlock risks $219 Million, Newsday, May 5, 2005.

Connecticut is concerned about costs, May 5, 2005.

Machines on display in DeWitt; lobbyists' influence alleged. The Post-Standard (Syracuse), Wednesday, May 4, 2005.

How Albany picks a new voting machine, The Post-Standard (Syracuse), Monday, May 2, 2005.

April 2005

Article: Warren, Washington, and Saratoga counties, Post Star, April 25, 2005.

Michigan has New Optical Scanners on the way, April 24, 2005.
New vote machines set on scan, Michigan, April 27, 2005.

South Dakota gets the Automark. April 22, 2005.
More on South Dakota and the Automark.

Lawmakers In Albany Struggle To Come Up With Voting Reform Plan April 22, 2005.

Glitches add up for electronic vote machines Pennsylvania. April 21, 2005. Can New York learn from the experience of other states, or do we have to make the same mistakes all over again?

Legislative Gazette: Optical vote scan machines cheaper, more accurate, group says. April 20, 2005.

News Release from Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver ASSEMBLY TO CONSIDER HAVA BILLS; Silver, Wright Urge Senate to Join Conference Committee to Negotiate Remaining Issues for Implementing the Help America Vote Act. April 19, 2005.

A Vote for Paper, Editorial, The Post-Standard (Syracuse), Sunday, April 17, 2005.

After Miami-Dade county switched to evoting, they spent $4.6 million more per election.

HeadOfVotingGroupDiscussesMachines, April 13, 2005.

Miami-Dade studies switch to paper ballots, Miami Herald, April 12, 2005. Miami-Dade County officials are studying whether to replace an expensive, controversial touch-screen voting system after a series of mishaps.

Massapequa Park lawsuit resolved with denial of revote, April 7, 2005. Plaintiff argued that the machines were not under the control of the Nassau County Board of Elections, since they were rented from, and returned to, a private company.

March 2005

City may have to foot bill to update voting booths By James DeWeese, Times Ledger, 03/31/2005

Political Activists Emerge By Mary Bulkot, www.IthacaTimes.com, March 30, 2005.

N.Y. lawmakers should offer optical-scan mode as choice for local governments, Elmira Star Gazette, Opinion for Tuesday 3/29/05.

Protect democracy and push for paper ballots Letter to the Editor by Jeanne Fudala, Syracuse Post-Standard, March 28, 2005.

Voting systems tested, What will the future of New York State's voting system look like?, Capital News 9 web staff, 3/23/2005.

New York State Legislature's Plan to Help America Vote May Hurt NYC Residents By Amanda Erickson,The Columbia Spectator, March 23, 2005.

Task force: Replace flawed voting machines By Dan Janison New York Newsday, March 21, 2005.

Optical Scanners should be wave of the future Troy Record, Editorial, March 20, 2005.

There are options to electronic voting By Linda A. DeStefano, Albany Times-Union, March 20, 2005.

Voting machines need an immediate upgrade to optical, The Saratogian, Opinion, 03/17/2005.

Lawmakers consider changes to voting machines The Daily Star, Oneonta NY, March 16, 2005.

4 Letters to the Editor, For Voting Machines We Can Trust The New York Times, March 14, 2005, with comments from wheresthepaper.org. Note that accuracy of evoting systems cannot be proved except by conducting an audit. When studies compare "undervotes" the definition of undervotes must be specified. It is alleged that when Diebold counts "undervotes" this only applies to races in which multiple candidates are elected to fill multiple offices, and the voter selects fewer than the maximum number of candidates allowed. Diebold’s count of undervotes would not include a race for President where a choice is not recorded, which they would call a "blank vote," not an "undervote." So if they claim that DREs have fewer "undervotes" than other systems, it may mean absolutely nothing. What should be asked is whether they mean "undervotes" or "blank votes", since their terminology is not industry standard. Were you aware of this?

Demand to follow vote act grows, The Citizen, Auburn NY, March 14, 2005.

Voters with disabilities By Veronica Castelo, News 10 Now Web Staff, www.news10now.com, 3/14/2005.

Pressure Mounting For Optical Scan Voting In New York 13WHAM.com, Albany, NY, AP, 03/13/05.

Stop dawdling on federal election aid Newsday Editorial, March 13, 2005.

More bucks for better ballots? Head of task force says city's 2006 elections 'could be more chaotic than Florida' if Albany doesn't free up $220 million for election reform. Newsday, March 11, 2005, by William Murphy, Staff Writer.

State facing elex 'chaos', NY Daily News, March 11, 2005, by Frank Lombardi, Daily News City Hall Bureau.

$220M for voting machines seen as imperiled, Mayoral panel says state could lose funding for new devices because of dawdling in Albany. Staten Island Advance, March 11, 2005, by Michael Scholl.

Ferrer Adviser Is Being Paid to Lobby the Legislature Against Paper Ballots, The New York Times, March 10, 2005, by Michael Slackman.

Virtues of Optical-Scan Voting EDITORIAL, The New York Times, March 9, 2005.

Sequoia Sold to Smartmatic, Business Wire, March 9, 2005.

Put polling machines to a vote New York Daily News, March 9, 2005, By Bill Hammond, a columnist for the New York Daily News.

Unraveling the $25M political mystery Newsday, March 9, 2005, by Bryan Virasami, Staff Writer.

New York Is Last State to Seek Money for Voting Technology The New York Times, March 8, 2005 by Patrick D. Healy

Elex board pleads for 15M boost by Frank Lombardi, New York Daily News, March 8, 2005.

Legislature tries again to resolve voting system dispute Newsday, March 7, 2005, by Marc Humbert AP Political Writer

February 2005

Press Conference, Mon. Feb. 28, 2005, 1 PM, LOB Room 130.

Albany dithering away $220M, N.Y. only state not to pass voting machine law; federal aid just sits there The Post-Standard (Syracuse), February 20, 2005, By Delen Goldberg, Staff writer.

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