Thursday, January 24, 2008
Voting Machine Victory Message From Bo Lipari of New Yorkers For Verified Voting
A major-- and very favorable-- turning point for our democracy occurred today here in the State of New York. Many of us will recall the presentation two years ago by Bo Lipari of New Yorkers For Verified Voting. Today Bo announced a decisive victory in the New York State Board of Elections-- NY will not be voting on unreliable, unsecure touchscreen voting machines that can be hacked. American democracy may have been saved. Stalin once joked, it's not who votes that counts, but who counts the voters. But we have been saved from that spectre. There will be no stolen elections here.
There were many who worked ceaselessly for this victory, but clearly none contributed more than Bo Lipari himself, and to him a special laurel is due.
His announcement is in full below.
Also in the news tonight: our Kucinich supporters, both from this year and 2004, will be saddened to hear that Kucinich is dropping out of the race for President. Whether one was for Dennis or not is not the issue-- two thirds of the Democratic candidates have now dropped out, with 95% or more of the electorate still to be heard from. That cannot be considered healthy for our democracy. There is still much to be done!
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Bo Lipari"
Date: January 24, 2008 3:15:58 PM EST
To: "Bo Lipari"
Subject: Breaking News - NY rejects DREs!
"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then
I'm pleased to announce that after five years of hard work on the part of
voting integrity advocates, New York State has rejected DREs and approved
only the Automark and the Sequoia ImageCast scanner/marker for use in 2008
polling places. This momentous decision by the State Board of Elections
virtually guarantees that New York State will vote on paper ballots and
ballot scanners when it finally replaces lever machines in 2009.
Those of you who were with us at the beginning five years ago know what an
enormous victory this is. When I first started traveling, presenting and
advocating in New York, election officials, political parties, and the media
assumed that New York State was going to be a DRE state. Precinct scanners
were not under discussion, and only DREs were offered by vendors. Our
experience over these five years reflects the truth of Gandhi's statement -
indeed we were ignored, then laughed at, then fought bitterly by the voting
machine vendors and their supporters in the election establishment. But
finally, truth has prevailed, and what seemed like an impossible dream in
2003 has been made real by our hard work - New York State will be a paper
Just yesterday, it seemed like high powered lobbyists had scuttled our hopes
once again as they maneuvered to keep DREs in the mix even though they were
in clear violation of New York's laws(see my blog entry describing
yesterday's events at http://nyvv.org/blog/2008/01/breakdown-at-board.html).
But this morning, when the Board reconvened, it was immediately obvious from
the commissioners opening statements that those who were pushing for the
DREs had conceded defeat. No small amount of thanks is due to Commissioner
Doug Kellner (D), who firmly held the line yesterday and during a long night
of backroom political maneuvering, vowing he would never approve the DRE
submissions which did not fulfill the requirements of New York State
election law regarding accessible voting machines.
While technically it is possible for a DRE vendor to submit and win approval
for the 2009 lever machine replacement, this is highly unlikely as at least
half of the HAVA funds will be spent on scanner compatible ballot markers.
Since all the approved systems are components of a precinct based scanner
system the least expensive path, and the only sensible one is for the
counties to complete their HAVA implementation with paper ballots and
scanners. We've learned to never be complacent, but this time we have reason
to be confident that the scanner compatible choices of today will inevitably
lead to paper ballots for all New York voters tomorrow.
My deepest thanks to everyone who fought this long, difficult battle. This
is only round 1, and I promise you we will have much, much more to do to
guarantee that our elections belong to the public, and are transparent and
observable. But for today, let's break out the champagne, relax, and
celebrate this great victory. What was once only a slogan representing what
we were fighting for, has now become a reality - Paper Ballots for New York!
Congratulations friends. Together we have changed the course of New York
States election history, and 12 million registered voters in the Empire
State will vote on paper ballots, not DREs.