Thursday, March 02, 2006

Whatz Dat Wojto?

What a charade the county election commissioners are perpetrating on the voters and the Onondaga county legislators with their phony selection scheme to choose the new voting machines for the County. The federal government enacted legislation in 2002 with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), after the 2000 presidential election fiasco, mandating new voting machines with accessible voting for all. Now New York State is in the process of making choices about new voting systems to replace our current mechanical lever machines. Our state legislature decided that each county should choose which voting machines to purchase and have delegated that responsibility to our two county commissioners.

Our two County commissioners decided to have a mock vote and invited the public to view the “pre-selected” machines they have selected and then vote on which one they prefer. Although some knowledgeable people have concluded that they have already decided which machine they will purchase because they stated publicly in an op-ed piece in the Post Standard that the direct recording electronic devices (DRE’s) are the only viable choice.. So how did our esteemed commissioners set this up? They designated four dates for the public to view four machines---one machine per date. What times did they choose? They chose a time when only those who are retired or have an extremely flexible schedule can make it; 1:30PM until 3:30PM. Where did these demonstrations take place? At a place convenient to the commissioners, the 4th floor of the County Court House. Please tell me how many citizens have the time to make all four sessions at such an inconvenient time and location to vote on a decision that may have enormous consequences in local, state, and national elections? Does the public know that we are choosing among DRE machines and the optical scanner choice which is a paper ballot marked by hand with a ballot marking device for disabled voters and counted by precinct based optical scanners? They are two distinct types of machines. The question is do you want your vote to be in the hands of corporations who only care about making a profit with unprotected electronic voting machines whose tabulations can be illegally altered or by the more reliable process of marking paper ballots and counting them by optical scanners and by hand if a recount is necessary? This is neither a Republican or Democrat issue nor is it conservative versus liberal one. This is an issue that transcends party affiliation and defies political labels. The New York Times and the New York State affiliate of The League of Women Voters have recommended city and county governments (March 9, 2005) purchase optical scanning machines.

The County Legislators must do the right thing and assure us that our vote will count when we go to the polls to cast it. No machine is perfect but the Paper Ballot, Ballot Marking Device Optical Scanner Machine can give us a better guarantee than electronic recording devices. Despite the misinformation spread, these optical scanners cost less. Let’s have a valid demonstration with all the machines presented together at a time and place when the public can be there and then let the advocates explain to those attending why they think a certain machine is better. Have a real demonstration in the evening at a local high school and publicize it well in advance!

Gerald R. Lotierzo

1 comment:

Whazdat! said...

I totally agree, and I thank you for reminding that I must send my periodic mail to ARISE, Inc., telling them about the voting scam I believe the machine makers are trying to pull.