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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-25-09 09:19 PM
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NEW YORK: Uncertified machines do not serve voters
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Edited on Thu Jun-25-09 09:50 PM by Bill Bored

Uncertified machines do not serve voters

First published in print: Thursday, June 25, 2009

A sentence in the June 17 editorial, "Iranians' fight for democracy," sent a chill down my spine.

"...Iran's supreme leader ... has called for a limited recount."

Hold that thought. Something else -- that I literally shudder to connect to the above -- has been nagging at me for some weeks. It is this:

How many candidates running for office this fall know that the votes that will decide their fate will be counted by an uncertified computer program?

And how many of those candidates know that only a small fraction of those votes will be hand counted after the fact to see if that uncertified computer program (which also has not yet proved to be accurate, reliable or tamper-proof) worked as it was intended to and was not hacked into?

"A limited recount."

Across New York, 47 counties with 1.4 million registered voters will participate in a "pilot project" in which uncertified optical-scan voting machines, manufactured and programmed by Sequoia Voting Systems or Election Systems & Software, will count the votes.


And the recounts of these votes?

They'll be limited.

Right now, and the regulations are now being considered, it appears that three percent of all machines will be subjected to a hand recount. Additionally recounted, and fortunately at 100 percent, will be any race in which there is a margin of one percent or less between candidates. (Think about that one. If Candidate A receives 51 percent and Candidate B receives 49 percent, there will be no full recount.)


It's been suggested that any candidate will have the option of going to court to request a full recount. Yet that unfairly puts the onus on the candidate, who risks charges of sour grapes or of running up expenses to add to the taxpayers' tab.


But Columbia County candidates and voters will be far better served. None of our races will require "limited recounts" because none will be counted by an optical scanner. Voters will select candidates using their choice of a lever machine or ballot-marking device.

That's because Commissioner Don Kline and I opted out of the optical-scan pilot project. We, along with the overwhelming majority of our custodians, inspectors, voters and county legislators, hope to continue using this voting system of lever machine with ballot-marking device, which meets all the requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act, well into the future.

Virginia Martin is the Democratic commissioner of the Columbia County Board of Elections.
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