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Testing of Incomplete Voting Systems NYS Betrayal

New Yorkers for Verified Voting
NYS League of Women Voters
NYPIRG
Common Cause / NY
NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release For more information contact:
Monday, December 5, 2005 Bo Lipari: bolipari@nyvv.org

Civic Groups Outraged at NYS Board of Elections Action Certification Testing of Incomplete Voting Systems a Betrayal of the Public Trust

Groups call for the Legislature to convene oversight hearings on Board actions A coalition of civic groups today condemned the State Board of Election's decision to begin preliminary certification testing of the Liberty DRE computerized voting machine this week, even though the prototype still has no voter verified paper ballot or full accessibility features as required by law. The groups found out about the move through a letter received on Friday by members of the HAVA Citizens Advisory Committee.

“The Board has consistently misrepresented the machine selection process to the public, and continues to operate in near secrecy despite a need for full visibility and transparency in the machine selection and certification process” said Aimee Allaud, Elections/Government Specialist of the League of Women Voters of New York State. “The pre-emption of the public review process of the proposed Draft Voting System Standards is a slap in the public's face. It is a subversion of the process which the public comment period is designed to accomplish."

“Computer engineers know that it is technically naïve to believe that a partial system can be adequately tested.” said Bo Lipari, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting. “Testing a voting system when some of its parts do not yet exist is fundamentally an exercise in futility. A voting system includes hardware and software with many interdependent parts. In particular, a voter verified paper ballot printer and accessibility interfaces are not simple add-ons."

"In their decision to start the certification process for a voting machine that isn't fully built yet, the Board of Elections is acting like nincompoops. They're not only putting the cart before the horse, they're putting political expediency before a public and thorough testing of one of the foundations of our electoral system." said Neal Rosenstein, Government Reform Coordinator of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

“This adds insult to injury to New York voters. Revamping our voting systems has to happen, but the process has been mishandled since day one by our leaders and the NYS Board of Elections. Now as we run out of time, the real threat is we will approve systems that are not completed and have voters serving as guinea pigs in the next election. Voters deserve a thorough and deliberative process as we decide how New Yorkers will vote for years to come. It is indefensible to cut corners and be secretive and unaccountable when our democracy is at stake,” stated Rachel Leon, Executive Director, Common Cause/NY.

The groups called on the Board of Elections to stop the certification process of any incomplete machines and for the New York State Legislature to swiftly convene oversight hearings on the Board’s actions to date.

ENDS

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