Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sad Ending, or Beginning?

The Ithaca Journal has a spot-on editorial today entitled "HAVA lawsuit: Sad ending to an important process". Key graf:

No one wants a repeat of the 2000 presidential election, where we all learned more than we probably wanted to know about hanging chads and other debacles associated with voting across the country. And violating the civil rights of the disabled is no way to conduct an election. At a minimum, New York should attempt to get a voting machine that is accessible for the disabled in every polling place for the extremely important presidential primary Feb. 5. There is no excuse for hindering the ability of the disabled to vote.

In the long run, though, we find it hard to sympathize with the Justice Department's lawsuit for the state becoming HAVA compliant. Selecting political leaders is the most important process in any democracy. Our state's stringent rules were made tough for a reason — to protect the interests of voters. It's too bad a federal judge will have to help New York sort out our voting future.

My only quibble with this editorial is the headline. However Judge Sharpe (who is hearing the DoJ's motion) decides, New York is still likely to be at the beginning, rather than at the end, of the voting system selection process. Someone -- the Judge, a special master appointed by the Judge, the counties, or (most unlikely) the state legislature, is going to have to make the decision as to which machines must be purchased to replace our lever machines.

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