New Yorkers win Round One in fight for source code protections
Posted Friday, June 2, 2007 to Bo Lipari's web log
I'm pleased to report that due to a huge outpouring of calls from citizens, and three intense days and nights working the Capitol halls by New Yorkers for Verified Voting and the League of Women Voters/NY, New York States' voting machine laws were not weakened or tampered with in any way. Neither the Microsoft amendment nor any other proposals being pushed by voting machine vendor lobbyists made it into any of the thousands of bills passed in this last crazy week of the session. The citizens of New York State stood up to these powerful private interests and won.
A rapid response of citizens to this threat to our essential protections resulted in over 3000 calls to legislators in just over two days. This huge outpouring from the public averted the threat of a stealth amendment slipping into law unnoticed, as so often happens in this last hectic week in Albany. Every legislator I talked to over the last three days was impressed by the volume of calls and the passionate reaction, and promised they would watch the bills carefully for back door changes, adding their eyes to ours. They reaffirmed their commitment to keeping New York's voting machine laws among the strongest in the nation, and in the end, they came through. The public's response to this threat has kept our representatives vigilant and committed to keeping New York State's voting machine laws among the strongest in the nation.
Keeping our strict laws intact was an essential win for us, but this is only Round One. The next battleground will be the New York State Board of Elections, where the four commissioners are discussing how to interpret the New York State law. And yes, you guessed it, one of the interpretations being promoted by some of these decision makers would allow the voting machine vendors to use Microsoft and other source code in voting technology that would not be subject to review in the event of election problems. Our next task will be to make sure the State Board of Elections understands what we've told the State Legislature, that the public's will is expressed precisely in the letter of our election law - ALL source code must be handed over, not just some pieces of it. Our elections, and the technologies we use to conduct them, belong to us. And we the people aim to keep it that way.
But today, let's celebrate. Congratulations friends, we did it!