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NY (Election Commisioner) Letter: Columbia County Will Continue to Fight for Lever Voting [View All]

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-29-10 11:44 PM
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NY (Election Commisioner) Letter: Columbia County Will Continue to Fight for Lever Voting
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LETTER: Columbia County Will Continue to Fight

Thursday, April 29, 2010


First, in specifying required criteria, HAVAs Section 201 (a) (1) (A) refers to voting systems not just voting machines. HAVA defines a voting system as a combination of machines and methods. Thus in New York, a lever voting system may comprise a lever machine, a paper ballot-marking device for voters with disabilities, a hand count of all the paper ballots, and the manually prepared Statement of Canvass a permanent paper record of the total vote cast at each poll site.

OKeefe says HAVA requires that voting machines be accessible to disabled voters. But its clear that its not voting machines, but voting systems, that must be accessible.

She says that HAVA requires that a voting machine produce a permanent paper trail with a manual audit capacity, something she says lever machines do not. But, again, HAVA requires this of a system, not a machine. A permanent paper trail is most certainly created by a lever voting system at the close of polls under the watchful eyes of the public. HAVAs audit language was developed to address the inherent shortcoming of a computerized vote tally. That said, a lever voting system easily meets HAVAs audit requirements.

She says boards of election must be able to recreate the vote after the election by reference to the paper trail. But the only reason to recreate the vote is if the equipment in use produces, by its very nature, results that are likely to be incorrect. Thats why, when computers are involved, a paper trail of every vote cast is absolutely essential. In a lever-machine election, no paper trail reflecting every single transaction is needed. If a lever machine is well-maintained and all the legally required checks are made, the chance that something will go wrong with the machine is infinitesimal.


If I worked for the Legislature, I might try to defend it work too. But I work for the voters and the taxpayers. As an official tasked with certifying to the correctness of election results, I must defend the voting processes that guarantee our democracy. And so I am compelled to resist with every ounce of my strength and legislation that removes from us, the people the ability to oversee any single aspect of our elections. And thats why Nassau and now Columbia counties are doing the right thing by bucking the state to fight against it.



The writer, a Democrat, is an elections commissioner in Columbia County.


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