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Brad Friedman Exclusive for The Gouverneur Times: Officials Were Warned

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-12-09 11:02 PM
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Brad Friedman Exclusive for The Gouverneur Times: Officials Were Warned

Exclusive: Officials Were Warned

Northern NY News
Written by Brad Friedman

Friday, 11 December 2009 07:09

(Special to the Gouverneur Times)

ALBANY, NY - Following the recent November election, the Operation Director for New York's State Board of Elections, Anna E. Svizerro declared the experiment of testing new, uncertified voting systems on live voters in a real election to be "very successful." The Watertown Daily Times reported Svizerro's comments, nearly verbatim and wholly uncritically, on Nov. 13th, despite serious concerns that had already emerged about the equipment used in the NY-23 Special Election for the U.S. House, and the errors discovered in its reported results.


But concerns about the dangers and pitfalls of New York's pilot program were voiced long before the questionable election of November 3rd. State officials were warned about those dangers via a virtual blizzard of letters sent to them over the past year by state and national election integrity organizations and advocates recommending modifications to the pilot program to ensure voters would not be disenfranchised. Indeed, many of the very same groups who have supported the state's move from mechanical lever systems to computerized secret vote counting were nonetheless extremely critical of the way in which voters were to be used "as guinea pigs" to test uncertified hardware and software in both the primary and general elections this year as part of the pilot program.

The concerns of the election advocates now seem to have been quite prescient, even as they appear to have been largely ignored by state and federal officials.


On June 10, representatives from LWVNYS, NYVV and NYPIRG, along with representatives from the Catskill Center for Independence, Citizens' Union, E-Voter Education Project and the Task Force on Election Integrity sent an "urgent" plea to state officials to amend the pilot program.


The following week Common Cause of New York, Yad HaChazakah - The Jewish Disability Empowerment Center, Inc. and national election integrity watchdog would join with several of the other groups to send yet another joint letter to federal officials at the U.S. Attorneys office as well as to state elections officials, trying yet again, ultimately in vain, to see changes made to the ill-fated pilot program - ("ill-fated", at least as many voters undoubtedly saw it, if not officials such as Svizerro who would, implausibly, declare it a success) - even as the primary and general election drew near.

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