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The Fight to Hold on to Our HAVA-Compliant Lever Voting System: Keeping the Air and the Facts Clear

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--We believe a democratic electoral system requires that ordinary people be able to observe that the system accurately counts our votes.

--We believe it requires that many eyes be able to check each other as we witness the process that results in the count.

--We believe it requires the production of reliable, publicly accessible evidence of both how the votes were counted as well as evidence of tampering, should it occur.

--We believe a democratic electoral system must be designed to detect, deter and reveal fraud, without which there is no deterrent to committing fraud. 

--We believe a democratic electoral system must contain safeguards that prevent every known opportunity for tampering.  

According to the law as written by successive legislatures and repeatedly interpreted by the highest court of the State, New York's lever voting system satisfies all of the above criteria and has served us well for a century.         

New York's new law, ERMA, permits software-driven optical scanners or DREs to count our votes.  Computer security scholars and professionals corroborate that software can be undetectably altered before, during and after Election Day, despite the most rigorous certification testing anyone might provide.   ERMA, therefore, fails to ensure that the election night count is reliable.  All we can do to attempt to verify the uncertain computerized count is manually count the paper ballots, but ERMA requires that the "audit" be done after the election is over, after the results from all other precincts are known, after the press has announced the winner, and after ongoing public scrutiny of the ballots has ended.

The entire history of New York's Election Law, until ERMA, recognized that post-election ballot tampering is so probable that it has never permitted post-election verification of the secure, reliable, publicly observed first count.  Under ERMA, not only is the first count (by software) undependable and concealed from the pubic, but the post-election "audit" is also unreliable, since the ballots being hand counted to verify the first count no longer enjoy the security of uninterrupted public scrutiny enabled by the many authorized watchers at the poll site.  Under ERMA, the integrity of the verification is impugned, leaving the entire count unknowable and unreliable. 

Moreover, since we believe that transparency in a public election demands that many eyes be able to observe the process that results in the count, we are opposed to optical scanners and DREs which hide that process. 

Since we believe in the democratic requirement that everyday people be able to witness the process that results in the count, we are opposed to optical scanners and DREs which conceal the count. 

Since we believe that a democratic electoral system requires the production of reliable, publicly accessible evidence of both how the votes were counted as well as evidence of tampering, we are opposed to optical scanners and DREs which computer scientists have agreed can be programmed to destroy evidence of the count as well as evidence of the tampering.  Without reliable evidence of the count or of fraud, there is no way to challenge the results in a court of law, potentially disenfranchising the electorate and depriving them of their legal recourse to vindicate the loss of their constitutional right. Since we believe a democratic electoral system must be designed to detect, deter and reveal fraud, we are opposed to optical scanners, DREs, and election management systems which have been shown to be hackable without detection on a massive, outcome-determinative scale, by a single person who doesn't even have to be physically present.

Since we believe a democratic electoral system must contain safeguards that prevent every known opportunity for tampering, and indeed this is what New York's case law has consistently required of the legislature, we are opposed to optical scanners and DREs which subject the count to known opportunities for tampering and expose the count to new and greater risks made possible by software.  The highest court in New York has repeatedly found that dilution of the count by tampering amounts to unconstitutional disenfranchisement.

We therefore reject software driven voting systems and demand that New York hand count the ballots marked by accessible ballot markers for voters with special needs, and retain its secure, transparent, and reliable lever voting system, with all the attendant laws enacted to secure the lever count.   

Sign this petition if you agree with us (New York residents only).  Residents and non-residents who want to help, contact Rady at j30rady [at] yahoo.com.

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http://electiontransparencycoalition.org/

Andi Novick Election Transparency Coalition, www.etcnys.org, http://nylevers.wordpress.com/

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