Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More on Voting Machines

We agree with nearly everything the Utica-Observer Dispatch says about the need for New York to get moving on certifying and purchasing new voting machines. Among the points the paper makes are:

1. the new open-ended deadline signed into law by Governor Spitzer could have the negative effect of tempting New York into taking years more to certifying new electronic voting machines;

2. state leaders need to put aside any appearance of favoritism toward certain vendors and set clear guidelines for selection of new machines and this whole process should be as public as possible;

3. New York has probably been lucky that it's taken so long to certify these machines (given all the problems other states have had with theirs) but this is best described as "dumb luck";

4. We must take all steps necessary to ensure that we are buying secure and reliable systems, but this should not be an excuse for foot dragging.

We'd add a few more points:

1. The longer the state waits to buy electronic voting machines, the longer some disabled voters will be denied the chance of voting independently and privately in a polling place -- this is no doubt tens of thousands of New Yorkers;

2. if they are rigorously tested, electronic voting machines promise to record voters intentions more accurately than lever machines; and

3. The "full face" touchscreen machines New York is considering are a full-out disaster, and the State Legislature should step up and ensure that counties are only buying optical scans and ballot marking devices in New York (or change the "full-face ballot" law -- we're not holding our breath).

Finally, we can't let this pass: someone seems to have engaged a bit of selective editing of their Wikipedia page.

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