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Reply #6: Excellent question! Here are some answers: [View All]

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-15-10 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Excellent question! Here are some answers:
Edited on Thu Jul-15-10 01:44 PM by Bill Bored

"The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to presidential power in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector."

It's named after:

SCOTUS Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.

They are the go-to guys for voting rights lawsuits in New York. No one wants to go to court without them, except for election lawyers paid by campaigns or political parties (hacks). (The exception is Nassau County who is REALLY fighting for out rights!)

Unfortunately, this has the effect of limiting rather than protecting the rights of voters.

Say you're a voter and you want to go to court to protect your constitutional rights, and you don't have a lot of money to hire a lawyer. You damn well better get the Brennan Center on your side, or you will NOT be represented by any other pro bono NY lawyer!

Now, say for example the Brennan Center's standards of what democracy is are so low that they think it's just fine to count votes with computers and only a 3% hand count of the paper ballots conducted weeks after an election (the new voting system NY will be implementing according to state law). Because the Brennan Center is seen as the guardian of democracy, such a system will be considered acceptable by a lot of lawyers who might otherwise be willing to represent voters in court to protect their constitutional right to have their votes counted as cast. But if they can't use the Brennan Center's name, forget about it!

This is as much the fault of New York's pro bono legal community as it is the Brennan Center's. But if the Brennan Center would do the right thing with respect to e-vote counting, it would be a lot easier to get other lawyers to help, as they have with the overvoting problem.

Things the Brennan Center thinks are important:

- Voting accessibility (no argument there);
- Eliminating the full-face ballot (kills lever machines, could result in butterfly ballots, FL CD13 ballots, ballot design exploits to disenfranchise voters);
- Use of computers (ANY COMPUTERS!) to count votes (they never favored scanners over DREs when they had the chance);
- Instant Runoff Voting (IRV -- more computers running elections, practically unauditable with centralized counting of votes);
- Audits (but not necessarily risk-limiting audits designed to find out who really won and lost elections with high probability; they're fine with spot checks)

So in other words, the Brennan Center would be OK with a voting system consisting of: touchscreen DREs, VVPATs, centralized counting, unauditable IRV, and spot checks instead of rigorous audits.

And these are our go-to guys for voting rights in New York? :wtf:

It's clear they don't like lever voting machines, even though New York has been in compliance with HAVA since 2008 by providing at least one Accessible voting device per polling place for voters with special needs.

Unfortunately, like most anti-lever folks, they have yet to offer a viable alternative.
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