Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Week for Election Integrity in The Big Apple

It's been quite a week for election integrity advocates (starting last Thursday) here in the City of New York!

First the stunning but perfectly reasonable declaration by Columbia County Election Commissioner Virginia Martin in a State Assembly hearing in the City last Thursday, where she testified [PDF] that she would not certify an election counted by computers "unless an appropriately designed audit of the paper ballots is conducted."

We continue to work toward that end, assuming any county given the choice would actually replace its tried and true lever voting machines with paper ballots counted by computers. But as we have reported previously, auditing elections in New York to any degree of confidence -- statistical or otherwise -- is going to be an uphill climb.

Here's our testimony [PDF] from last Thursday's hearing including some graphics [PDF]. And here's a full recap complied by Teresa Hommel of WheresThePaper.org.

Martin also said that given today’s fiscal environment, the state budget and current and future deficits, the only prudent thing to do is to amend the New York Election Law to allow counties to continue to use their lever voting machines.

In a related E.I. development, tomorrow in response to calls for fiscal responsibility and election integrity, New York City Councilmember Helen D. Foster will introduce a Resolution to keep the City's 7,300 lever voting machines which, contrary to popular belief, the Help America Vote Act does not require to be replaced.

Councilmember Helen D. Foster

Advocates and fellow public officials will commend Councilmember Foster at a press conference on the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 12:45 PM. The public is invited to attend.