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New York Can't Purchase Voting Machines from any Vendor Asserting a Proprietary Right to Conceal Information from Public

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The below is an Abstract of the Memo sent to the NYS Board of Elections and Governor Spitzer. The full memo is very well documented and supported for those of you who desire this information and can be found at http://www.wheresthepaper.org/Memo1NYSvendorsProhibited.pdf or www.Votersunite.org.

Abstract Memo I

The Voting Vendors Scheduled for Certification Testing Are Ineligible to Contract with New York State

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In a free government, our elected representatives as well as public officials, must strive for the highest "moral and ethical standards which are worthy and warrant the confidence of the people. The people are entitled to expect from their public servants a set of standards above the morals of the market place. A public official of a free government is entrusted with the welfare, prosperity, security and safety of the people he serves. In return for this trust, the people are entitled to know that no substantial conflict between private interests and official duties exists in those who serve them."

McKinney's Public Officers Law, § 74,Declaration of Intent: Code of Ethics

We are entitled to expect that the laws, which have presumably been made in the people's interest, are faithfully executed and that our public officials and elected representatives will provide for the greatest degree of transparency and openness so that we the people may hold them accountable to us. It is within that context I have examined the right which protects all other rights: The right to vote and have that vote counted as cast.

With regard to ethics and transparency, Governor Spitzer has made ethics reform and open government the hallmark of his governorship:

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Because I believe that the governor - and I was elected for this purpose - is uniquely accountable for the ethics and the function of the state agencies, the state authorities…I expect to be held accountable, and I want to be held accountable.  

Among the many laws we expect to be abided are the State's Procurement laws which prohibit our state agencies from doing business with unsavory contractors. The rules prescribing a state agency's behavior in contracting with contractors are intended to insure that our tax dollars are being spent appropriately. Accordingly the State is enjoined from doing business with vendors who lack integrity or whose past business practices are wanting. The criteria for determining whether a vendor is sufficiently "responsible" for the State to contract with include consideration of the vendor's "ethical violations", "criminal convictions", "civil fines", "determinations of breach of contract", "reports of less than satisfactory performance".Lack of Integrity/Unethical Violations Prohibiting the State Board of Elections from Contracting with Any of the Voting Vendors

The five voting vendors the State Board of Elections (SBOE) is considering doing business with, ES&S, Diebold, Sequoia, Liberty and Avante, have exhibited a myriad of violations of New York's Procurement laws and are therefore ineligible to do business in New York State. All of the vendors have been guilty of a significant number of some or all of the disqualifying factors listed below:

–Charges of fraud, lying, bribery, bid rigging, securities violations, false claims, kickback scandals to state or county officials, misrepresentation – which have resulted in pleas or convictions and payment of large fines/damages;

– Unethical revolving door business policies;

-  Unethical conflicts of interest;

– Hiring and promoting of convicted felons or those charged with crimes (convicted for falsifying computer records, computer aided embezzlement and other forms of stealing money by tampering with computer records, bribery, kickbacks to public officials, money laundering, to name a few);

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– Failing to inform officials of known software bugs or other defects in their systems which could affect the outcome of the election;

– Payment of millions of dollars in settlement of litigation claims for breach of contract, failure to timely deliver equipment , misleading county and state officials, lying about installing uncertified software, failing to provide working voting equipment, failure to meet deadlines, refusal to comply with agreed to contract terms.

In addition to the above, there are increasing reports of these vendors unethically exploiting and mistreating the counties who have purchased their voting systems. Just a few examples:

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

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