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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 11:12 PM
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Nassau County Challenges Feds, State to Beat Back Electronic Voting
Long Island Populist Examiner

Nassau County Challenges Feds, State to Beat Back Electronic Voting

Karen Rubin
August 31st, 2010


Nassau County is the lone challenger to New York State's Board of Elections mandating the new electronic voting machines throughout the state, after signing a consent decree with the U.S Department of Justice. County Attorney John Ciampoli is going to Federal court this week on behalf of both Republican and Democratic Elections Commissioners to challenge state and federal orders to replace lever voting machines with electronic ones.

In federal court, Ciampoli is arguing that the lever machines in fact comply with Help America Vote Act. The law was ostensibly passed to insure that every citizen, including people with disabilities, has the ability to cast a vote, but is being used nationwide to force boards of elections to implement electronic voting.

He will next go to State Supreme Court, Sept. 8, where he will challenge that the electronic machines violate New York State's constitution, based on the ease with which people actually lose their vote, and New York State law which specifically bans any voting machine that has access to the Internet.


But more significantly he will argue the ease with which the machines are vulnerable to hacking and manipulation - something the good ol' lever machines are not.

"The fact is that the machines don't meet the requirements of the law," Ciampoli says: "Sooner or later, people will lose their right to vote."


"You have a private, for-profit company, with no responsibility, not elected, controlling the machines, the software," says William Biamonte, Democratic Elections Commissioner for Nassau County's Board of Elections. "It will undermine people's confidence in the integrity of their vote, the validity of their elected officials."


Instead of requiring an automatic recount as was done with the lever machines, the new mandate is to audit just 3% of the ballots.

"Three percent tells you nothing," Biamonte says. "If someone wanted to tamper with lever machine, would be clearly evident, and could be determined fairly easily who did it, because we have bipartisan oversight. But with the computer - anyone could hack it, and then there would be no proof a hacking took place."


What is more, the new electronic voting systems will cost Nassau County millions of dollars that are not paid for by the federal government - including the paper ballots and the time it will take to count paper ballots, the ongoing support from ES&S, and the need to replace the machines every few years (they are computers, after all).


The county finds itself battling against the state because New York State signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice, and now has been doing everything possible to run out the clock before the 2010 primary and general elections.

Why? "They sold out," Ciampoli says. "It's easier to capitulate to the DoJ than it is to fight them." What's at stake is the millions of dollars to purchase the new electronic voting machines in order to comply with HAVA. The State is using similar tactics to prevent other counties, which otherwise have expressed opposition to the new machines, from joining Nassau County in its suit.

"Quite frankly, they have been beaten up and threatened by the state board of elections," Ciampoli says. "They have been told ''You have to buy these machines. If you oppose us, and if you're wrong, we're going to make you buy them and withhold the money from the state and federal government to help."

The state has played hardball to create an advantage in the courtroom. "They have repealed sections of the law applying to recanvassing and counting votes cast by the lever machines, altogether."


Judge Woodard has granted the county's request to have experts evaluate the hackability of the computers. But ES&S has made motion to intervene in the case. "Basically they have said they want to protect their intellectual property. Our position is that they want to put a gag on our commissioners and prevent them from testing the machine to see if work properly."


And if Ciampoli loses in the federal court or state Supreme Court? "We won't take this laying down, if it goes against us. We would prefer to win here and get it done." the case may well make its way before the U.S. Supreme Court. And what happens will not only affect the County, but the country.

Karen Rubin, Long Island Populist Examiner

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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-31-10 11:45 PM
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1. awesome
and many good points.
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druidity33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-01-10 06:57 AM
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2. I escaped LI at 18
It is a soul sucking place. I know. I grew up there. Consumerism run rampant.

Still, i'm glad they're fighting for this. Surprised, really...

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-02-10 01:06 AM
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3. This could be the most important voting lawsuit of our time.
Edited on Thu Sep-02-10 01:11 AM by Bill Bored
For years we've seen HAVA deliberately misread and turned on its head, along with the passage of fake state auditing laws and regulations with little more than a snowball's chance in hell of detecting or correcting a rigged election.

Now someone is finally standing up to the liars on both sides of the aisle who continue to give us a choice of: paper ballots without audits; or audits without paper ballots.

And this revolt is also bipartisan, which makes it that much sweeter!

This could have been a hand-counted-paper-ballot lawsuit if that were the existing non-computerized voting system under threat from the federal and New York State governments. But it happens to be about lever machines, which are almost as good as HCPBs in some respects and considerably better in others (levers don't permit overvoting, which cost Al Gore the Presidency in 2000).

Hats off to Nassau County and their bipartisan consensus on election integrity, willingness to tell the truth, and willingness to put their money where their mouths are in state and federal courts!
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