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In the spirit of Rippe's diary, I would like to share with everyone here at the DailyKos a victory for those opposed to DRE (direct recording electronic voting machines) in Upstate New York.

As you all know, HAVA (Help America Vote Act of 2002) has forced states to update their voting machines and procedures for the handicapped. In New York State, the state legislature has left the decision to the county boards of election, who then were lobbied by the larger manufacturers.  As reported by the Daily Star on June 8, 2005, the Chairman of the Otsego County Democratic Committee and the Democratic Election Commissioner expressed interest in the DREs, and he walked away from the machines with a favorable attitude towards them. Later, on September 29, 2005 a manager of Sequoia made mention to the fact that New York "has seen far more interest in its DRE." In that same story , the Otsego County Republican elections commissioner expressed her support of the DREs.  Even as late as October 6, 2005, the Otsego County Democratic Deputy Election Commissioner said that "she thinks DREs are likely to be selected."

You would think that with these ringing endorsements, that the choice was already a done deal. But with the work of members of the Coalition for Democracy of New York State, New York League of Women Voters and others, it seems that the Otsego County Democratic Committee is now putting pressure on the Democratic commissioner to re-evaluate this decision. In this story in the Daily Star from November 26, 2005, Nicols said that "he wrote to the state BOE on Monday at the urging of the county's Democratic Committee, which worries that counties may have no choice but to buy the computerized voting machines that some think are unreliable." In addition to asking the state legislature to ensure that "counties have the ability to buy optical scanners next year", Hank Nicols also said that "the committee also wants to ensure that decisions about voting equipment are arrived at in public forums and that private corporations do not take over functions that are now public."

This is a stunning reversal from earlier this year, when the DREs seemed to be a slam dunk at the county level. The county Democratic Committees must successfully block these attempts to implement unstable, insecure and unreliable voting machines when at all possible. I am hoping that this will expand to the Delaware County Democratic Committee, and I am interested in any other success stories with regards to voting machines.

Originally posted to Kelk on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 01:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for sharing. Good diary. (none)
  •  Great diary, Kelk... (none)
    Exactly the kind of local info we need for the 50-State Update.
  •  I've always liked... (none)
    New York's ancient, clunky, mechanical lever-pull systems which seem hard to mess with. I guess I can see how handicapped-accessibility could be an issue, but it's definitely a good idea to excercise caution moving forward.
  •  Warren and Washington counties. (none)
    Here in the other upstate area...

    Washington county has opted for optical scan machines. Good for them.

    Sadly, my county's (Warren) election commisioners are pushing touch screens. They have been sold a bill of goods by the touch screen salesforce and their word carries a lot when it comes to decision time.

    There is a concerted effort on the part of the local DFA groups to turn this around. There will be a forum in Glens Falls Wednesday night with featuring Bo Lipari, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting.

    I have been pressuring my town supervisor (who is also chairman of the county board of supervisors and a long time friend,) to opt for optical scan.

    We are doing what we can and we are very hopeful of success.

    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war."

    by RonV on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 02:36:14 PM PST

  •  Essex/Franklin (none)
    Great deal of apathy and cluelessness on this issue up here. Very hard to get straight information, or contacts to help organize.
    Any ideas would be appreciated.

    "Go in peace, errant sisters." -Horace Greeley, April, 1861

    by faithnomore on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 02:53:11 PM PST

    •  You could try... (none)
      Visiting the New Yorkers for Verified Voting website. They have some organizing and educational tools that could help local groups or idividuals get started on this issue.

      Also, do you have an active DFA group in your area? Around here, they are taking the initiative on this, actually having to work against the Dem. county election commissioner, who is sold on touch screen technology.

      Good luck to you.

      "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war."

      by RonV on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 03:20:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nearest DFA Plattsburgh, (none)
        referred me to the meeting you mentioned above, and a suggested letter template to the Board of Elections (which I have drafted, and will attempt to get out soon).

        Your suggestions look good, and I will check out.

        "Go in peace, errant sisters." -Horace Greeley, April, 1861

        by faithnomore on Sat Nov 26, 2005 at 03:33:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Big Apple's no better! (none)
      I went to a City Council hearing on Monday re NYC's voting machines. . . .

      Luckily all the citizens there to give testimony were there to speak against DREs.

      One interesting point (of many):  the salary for the technicians who do maintenance on the lever machines is around $25,000 a year.  The BoE staff did point out that there is no way they are going to be able to fill those positions at that salary when the machines to be maintained are computers, not lever machines.

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