Brennan Center's NY E-Voting Case Misses Mark
Your Letters to the Editor Needed!
The ETC would love to see the Brennan Center for Justice live up to its name and the name of late U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who insisted upon public scrutiny of government processes. Sadly, its new case against the NY State and NYC Boards of Elections is another indication that despite its good work in other areas the Center simply does not yet understand all the dangers of electronic vote counting. We see their litigation as akin to fretting about the seasoning in a poisonous brew!
Last week the Brennan Center For Justice filed suit against the NY State and NYC Boards of Elections to prevent election officials from configuring newly purchased optical scan voting machines in a manner that would likely disfranchise large numbers of voters. The suit was filed on behalf of NAACP, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, the Working Families Party and other plaintiffs. At issue are procedures to prevent "overvoting," where votes are disqualified because a voter has selected too many candidates in a particular race.
Of course it's important to require procedures to prevent overvoting. However, as we've repeatedly said, all protective procedures New York has enjoyed for centuries must be maintained, including the opportunity for meaningful public oversight of our elections. The Brennan Center's lawsuit, by focusing on a single protection, fails to address the much more significant problem: the State's insistence that counties deploy concealed fraud-enabling vote-counting technology in the first place!
If the case succeeds, overvoting may be less likely to occur, but votes could still be nullified by the concealed vote counting system the Brennan Center supports!
The suit acknowledges that lever voting machines make overvoting impossible, yet fails to mention that lever machines also cannot be secretly programmed or "hacked" to switch and miscount votes without detection -- which is eminently possible with optical scanners.
That's why we at ETC have been working so hard to bring our own lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of NY's Election Reform and Modernization Act (ERMA), which is forcing NY's counties to replace their existing secure, transparent voting systems.
A federal judge has ruled in the Nassau county lawsuit that federal law does not require replacement of lever voting machines. Yet the Brennan Center's case continues to promote the widely held misconception that the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) mandates replacement of NY's trusted lever machines.
Read ETC's full statement about the Brennan Center case.
Please Write A Letter to the Editor
A recent editorial in the NY Times supports the Brennan Center case and fails to provide the necessary context or address its shortcomings.
Please write to the Times and your local paper and express your views about the optical scan voting systems and the need for transparency in our election system!
Here are a few talking points you can work with if you'd like:
If writing to your local paper, make sure to check their guidelines, which are generally posted at the paper's website in the "opinion" section.
We thank you for your ongoing support of our work and of transparent democracy.
Yours for transparent and accurate elections,
for the Election Transparency Coalition
Find us online at both www.electiontransparencycoalition.org and www.etcnys.org.
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