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NY: Staten Island Recount is Illegal Under NY Law; So is the Replacement of Our Lever Voting Systems

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-15-09 04:47 PM
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NY: Staten Island Recount is Illegal Under NY Law; So is the Replacement of Our Lever Voting Systems
Edited on Sun Mar-15-09 05:33 PM by Wilms

The Staten Island Recount is Illegal Under NY Law; So is the Replacement of Our Lever Voting System

--by Andi Novick, Esq.

Friday, March 13, 2009


For 232 years New Yorks Election laws have mandated a publicly observable count, concluded on election night. The brilliance of New Yorks Get-it-Right-Election-Night voting system has been explicitly driven by the necessity to prevent opportunities for unseen fraud. Justice Louis Brandeis observation regarding the benefits of publicity, to wit, Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman, was not lost on successive generations of New York States Legislature.

After nearly a century of experience with 19th century electoral fraud, New Yorks Legislature perfected our hand count rules by 1896, requiring that there never be an opportunity for unobserved tampering, even by bipartisan election officials (who apparently had been colluding to create fraudulent returns, necessitating one part of the reforms of 1896). Accordingly we have never permitted the post-election recounting of those ballots which were cast and counted at the polling site under maximally safeguarded conditions while public scrutiny is continuous.

Paper ballots in the wrong hands are too vulnerable to manipulation (although not nearly as exploitable as software). Since it is the duty of the legislature to prevent all opportunities for fraud, post-election use of paper has been prohibited for New Yorks entire history.


This is still the law in New York: at each poll site, election inspectors must cast and canvass all ballots and ascertain the total vote and they shall not adjourn until the canvass be fully completed. (EL 9-100)

A properly run paper ballot election must be conducted such that all responsible can be certain of the accuracy of the results. It is designed to enable the detection of error or fraud and any recount or recanvass must be made immediately in order to correct the error. (EL 9-116)

New York also requires a 100% recanvass of precinct tallies, but only to correct transcription errors. (EL 9-208)


Until ERMA was passed, supposedly to comply with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), New York law has prohibited the use of post-election ballots as too dangerous for democracy. It was not even good enough for the ballots to be locked up and guarded by bipartisan election officials, unseen by citizen observers -- unless Court of Appeals precedence is to be ignored because the current Legislature has decided that the temptation to manipulate election outcomes has been eradicated from the population. Our experience in New York informs us that once the ongoing surveillance of the polling site itself is interrupted, the opportunities for tampering are just too risky for a self-governing people to endure.


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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-15-09 07:01 PM
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1. Very interesting. So there CAN be lots of recounts in NY....
Edited on Sun Mar-15-09 07:04 PM by Bill Bored long as they are done at each poll site on election night.

But how will we know that this should happen if we are counting votes with op scanners? What is there in the election law that would detect....oh, I don't know....VOTE SWITCHING for example? :think:

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