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NY: Columbia County Board of Elections Joins Nassau County Lawsuit to Keep Levers

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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-03-10 03:26 AM
Original message
NY: Columbia County Board of Elections Joins Nassau County Lawsuit to Keep Levers
Edited on Wed Mar-03-10 03:54 AM by Wilms

Joining the lever suit

By Francesca Olsen

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 2:12 AM EST

The Columbia County Board of Elections will join in a lawsuit with Nassau County, and other New York counties, to declare ERMA, the state Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005, unconstitutional.


Under ERMA, traditional lever voting machines would be prohibited from use, and municipalities would have to replace them with computerized voting machines, either touch-screen or optical scanners. But ERMA doesnt fund the replacement, meaning Columbia, and other New York counties, would need to foot the bill for the transition.


The Federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, which inspired ERMA and requires municipalities to make voting accessible to everyone regardless of disability,
does not require that lever machines be fully replaced, and provides funding to municipalities for the purchase of new machines.


There have also been deep concerns across the state as to whether optical scanners are as reliable as lever machines. They are computerized, and doubts about the security and accuracy of programs have been raised repeatedly. Also concerning to many is that the computerized language of ones and zeroes cant be easily understood at a local level by election custodians who may not be familiar with computer programming.

Resistance to the switch is ongoing. In February of last year, the New York State Association of Towns passed a resolution stating that the continued use of lever voting machines is in the best interest of the public and should be permitted to be used in future general elections ... the elimination of lever voting machines is costly to taxpayers, will result in another burden upon the local taxpayers, and will be confusing to the voting public without adequate time and education.

And the Election Transparency Coalition, headed by Attorney Andrea Novick, has been requesting help and resources to litigate against ERMA. ETCs Web site,, declares pointedly that ERMA is unconstitutional.

HAVA said we had to make voting handicapped-accessible to everybody, Nastke said. Weve done that. The state of New York said, we want everyone to use these new machines. Theres nothing wrong with our old machines. They work fine. You know whether or not the votes were counted ... they dont go into some hidden software chip somewhere.


Other counties in New York, Martin said, are looking into joining the litigation as well.

Ciampoli said that the BOE commissioners in Nassau County are calling other commissioners in other counties to generate interest in joining the lawsuit, and that so far, there have been talks with New York City, Westchester, Suffolk, and several other counties.

He added that paperwork has not been officially filed yet, but interviews with people to serve as expert witnesses are being conducted, an expert has already been retained, and reviews are being conducted with the attorneys office and Board of Elections.

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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-03-10 03:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thank you, oh champions of my lovely levers!
Use the evidence from that Kentucky court case.
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emlev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. The Clay, Kentucky case is actually mentioned IN THE COMPLAINT
Thanks, Wilms, for posting.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-03-10 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
2. I must say....
Edited on Wed Mar-03-10 11:27 PM by Bill Bored
...this is the BEST article in a mainstream newspaper about this issue I've ever read, BAR NONE!

The reporter got everything right! She captured the bi-partisan nature of the lawsuit; the fact that HAVA was never intended to ban the lever machines in the first place; the lack of transparency of software-based voting systems; the need for "Fort Knox" paper ballot security; and the need for accessible voting systems that has already been met by the State of New York, And of course, the statewide movement to KEEP THE LEVER VOTING MACHINES!

Did I leave out anything? What a story!

It's about time we had some honest, factual reporting on this stuff instead of the laziness and party-line repetition of the BIG LIES that passes for journalism and even ACTIVISM nowadays in New York!

This lawsuit, and the one by citizens' groups, is going to make history!

Hats off to Nassau County and Columbia County and the others who will join this suit! And to the Association of Towns of the State of NY who passed the first statewide resolution to keep the lever voting machines last year at their convention in scenic New York City!

Democracy is comin' to the Empire State at last!
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emlev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-25-10 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. Notice this article was posted a few weeks ago, link to new one here
The case was filed yesterday. Here's a link to your post about the filing.

I've read the complaint that was filed yesterday. At this point only Nassau County's election commissioners are listed plaintiffs.
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