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Brennan Center: Planned Voting System for New York State Violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 08:41 PM
Original message
Brennan Center: Planned Voting System for New York State Violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 08:43 PM by Wilms

New York State Board of Elections Violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

Press Releases

New policies could disenfranchise 40,000 to 50,000 New Yorkers

April 20, 2010

Contact: Jeanine Plant-Chirlin, 212-998-6289

New York The Brennan Center of Justice notified the U.S. Department of Justice that the New York State Board of Elections has violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The violation stems from the NYS Board of Elections' recent decision to switch to new voting machines that could disenfranchise at least 40,000 to 50,000 New Yorkers in the gubernatorial race this year.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act requires designated jurisdictions to submit proposed changes to their voting systems to the DOJ for preclearance, or approval. The recent change affects Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx designated Section 5 jurisdictions.

The policy change involves how New York handles "overvoted" ballots. Under the new voting system -- which will be used throughout the state for the first time in the September primaries -- voters will fill out ballots that will be read by an optical scanner. If the machine determines a voter has selected too many candidates for a particular vote, it will not count the vote in that contest. These "overvotes" can occur because the voter misreads the ballot and selects more candidates than she is entitled to vote for, or because the machine misinterprets a voters mark as an extra choice.

The change is likely to have a disproportionate affect on minority voters. Florida instituted this rule change before the 2008 election, and Black voters, in particular, experienced substantially higher rates of loss due to overvoted ballots.


snip

New Yorks lever machines prevented overvotes in the past by making it impossible to cast an overvoted ballot. Under the new procedure, when a voter overvotes, New Yorks voting machines will retain the ballot, rather than immediately reject it; will not notify voters of the consequences of casting an overvoted ballot; and will display a confusing message.

snip

For more information or to speak with experts at the Brennan Center, please contact Jeanine Plant-Chirlin at 212-998-6289 or jeanine.plant-chirlin@nyu.edu .

http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/new_york_... /

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 09:30 PM
Response to Original message
1. It took a team of "experts" to figure this out?
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 09:38 PM by Bill Bored
What's next?

They'll figure out that lever machines aren't DREs?
That lever machines aren't computers?
That lever machines can't be hacked in large numbers?
That lever machines can't flip votes during elections?
That lever machines are impervious to every software threat because they don't run on software?
That lever machines comply with HAVA?
That lever machines don't allow Internet voting?
That a lever voting SYSTEM produces a paper trail?
That a culture of fraud never developed around the lever machines?
That parts are still available for lever machines, and new parts can be made by any competent machine shop?
That there's nothing proprietary about a lever machine?
That Al Gore would have been President if Florida had voted on lever machines in 2000?
That lever machines ensure the secrecy of the ballot?
That lever machines don't have to be "audited" like computers?
That lever machines prevent paper-ballot fraud?
That lever machines are cheaper to run than electronic voting systems?
That lever machines permit voters to change their ballot before it's cast and counted -- as many times as they want?
That the operation of the lever machines is transparent and observable?
That lever machines don't require climate-controlled storage?
That lever machines don't require electricity, memory cards, touch screen calibration or ballot definition files to count votes?
That lever machines are impervious to electrostatic discharge?
That lever machines difficult to steal, lose, spindle, mutilate or destroy?
That lever machines were built to last 100 years?
That a lever machine, if dropped on one's foot, may cause serious injury?
That lever machines provide the public with confidence in election results that's not based on faith, trust, "certification" or source code reviews?

I'm glad that our best and brightest are finally beginning to see the light.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 10:44 PM
Response to Original message
2. I imagine a source code change might be required to accomplish this.
Edited on Wed Apr-21-10 10:45 PM by Wilms
That would require re-certification. And that could make roll-out problematic.

If the NY State Board of Elections ignores this, perhaps the Brennan Center or other organization will bring them to court.

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-25-10 12:29 PM
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3. .
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-17-10 10:51 PM
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4. .
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