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DRE Vendor Demands Court Restraining Order

I told you we couldn’t get complacent. The DRE vendors are like zombies - every time you think they're dead, they rise right up and come back at you. True to form, just after we thought we’d killed DREs for good in New York State, they're back.

The DRE vendor Liberty has applied for a temporary restraining order in Albany Supreme Court, asking Justice Kimberly O'Connor to allow them to be included on the list of voting machines which can be purchased by counties. Liberty is challenging last week's denial of approval for their DRE by the State Board of Elections, asked the Court to act immediately. However, after 2 hours and 45 minutes of oral argument tonight Justice O'Connor denied the call for an immediate restraining order. A hearing on Liberty's Article 78 proceeding is now scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, 2008.

The Board’s denial of approval was based on the Liberty DREs inability to meet the requirements of Section 7-202(1)(e) of New York State law which states that systems approved by the state board must: “provide the voter an opportunity to privately and independently verify votes selected and the ability to privately and independently change such votes or correct any error before the ballot is cast and counted.” As a member of New York’s Citizen Advisory Committee, I evaluated the Liberty DRE along with other systems. It's clear to me that the State Board was correct in denying approval to the DRE because it’s verification mechanism was completely unusable by voters with disabilities.

One can only gape in awe at Liberty’s unmitigated gall in asking the State Supreme Court to intervene on their behalf after failing to make the cut according to New York’s laws and process. The State Board of Elections, representing the interests of the citizens of New York State, made their determination and rejected the Liberty DRE (banned in its home country of Holland) because it doesn’t provide a suitable way for voters with disabilities to independently verify their ballot.

Three days ago, New York State unequivocally rejected DREs. Today, the DRE vendors show their true colors. They will do whatever it takes to force DREs on the Empire State, no matter what anyone else, especially not New York's voters, wants.
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Bo Lipari is the executive director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting.
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