5. The articles sponsor disparagement of the work of some officials and other election integrity activists: Some advocates of the retention of levers disparage the intention of New York’s careful certification requirements as well as its audit requirement, developed due to the hard work of citizen activists. They disparage the fact that NYVV and the NY League of Women Voters have argued that voter-marked paper ballots provide a fail-safe so that the voter’s intention can be checked through audits and recounts. Mockingly they presented this argument as saying, “…we know the optical scanners can be rigged without ever being detected, but we can hand-count some of the ballots to check against the computer results” and go on to say, “It’s true—we can do that, but we’re not.”
This “we’re not” is unjustified. Steps toward effective security and audits are being taken. Both officials and concerned citizens are working hard to discover and to implement effective systems for protecting the chain of custody of ballots and for audits.
Conclusion: Eyes Wide Open and Ready to Work:
New Yorkers for Verified Voting have shared from the beginning the concern about electronic voting machines that drives the current “retain the levers” movement. But we have learned that progress can be made through pragmatic action, through coalitions of good government groups, and through persistent effort. As a software engineer, our Executive Director was so concerned about electronic voting that he resigned from his professional position five years ago to volunteer to establish and lead NYVV. With eyes wide open, he has led us in the smart, step-by-step battle that Margaret Yonco-Haines has summarized on the Democratic Underground. With eyes wide open, we have kept direct recording electronic voting machines out of New York through a five year struggle.
With eyes wide open, we knew from the beginning that a system based on voter-marked paper ballots would need to be paired with precinct-based scanners, in order to allow voters feedback as each individual submitted her ballot to the scanner. The purpose also was to reduce the likelihood of accidental or malicious mis-programming infecting large systems. With eyes wide open, we knew that the scanners would need to be checked not only through pre-election testing but through post-election audits. We worked for and got adopted what were then the strongest certification testing rules and audit requirements in the country.
With eyes wide open, we now are insisting that counties not be allowed to implement untested and uncertified scanners. With eyes wide open, we now are working with experts on a strengthened audit policy. With eyes wide open, our members are working to strengthen provisions for trained election inspectors and for poll watchers. With eyes wide open, we hope to find time to research and reveal to the public the exorbitant charges the vendors are levying for their inadequate equipment. With eyes wide open, we are urging voters to insistently check their registration in the voter database.
We ask other activists to recognize that New Yorkers for Verified Voting have our eyes wide open, are not naïve, and that our interest is in election integrity that might protect our democracy. WE are not your enemy. The enemy is the greed that may have caused companies to sign contracts that they could not fulfill without producing low quality equipment. New Yorkers should not have to rely upon and pay for shoddy equipment. Let’s work together to make sure that reliable equipment such as that used for almost twenty years in Oklahoma’s paper ballot scanner system is developed.
Contrary to Andi Novick’s repeated claims, the real situation in New York, is that the ship indeed has sailed, the court has ruled, the county commissioners have chosen. Let’s get on with it, insisting on better ballot markers and scanners!