County Considers Using Untested Scanners

Will Ulster County Use Untested Machines in 2008?

In my last post, I noted the four crucial areas that we’ll need to focus on in the coming months. One of them, oversight of New York State’s voting systems, is a constant task. Here’s today’s example.

At its June 19 meeting the State Board of Elections announced that Ulster County is considering using uncertified scanners in this year’s Presidential election as a “demonstration project”. Let me be perfectly clear - voting systems which have not completed and passed New York State’s strict certification requirements must not be used in any election.

A decision to use any voting system which has not completed testing and is not certified by New York State­ would be an egregious error that will disenfranchise Ulster County voters. NYVV and the League of Women Voters sent a letter urging Ulster County election commissioners to seriously consider the reasons that using an untested system would be an extremely bad idea. Among others, we noted that:

1) Ulster County’s machines do not have required software installed, and would require a questionable upgrade. State Board staff has stated several times that they don’t’ know which software would need to be upgraded, and what procedures would have to be followed to perform the upgrades.

2) The scanners have not passed either New York State or Federal certification testing. New York has been rightfully proud that our testing standards are among the highest in the nation. This high bar is important to safeguard the integrity of our vote. No voter should be asked to vote on equipment which has not met these rigorous standards.

3) Initial testing of the machines has shown a exceptionally high number of defects. At the State Board meeting, it was reported that the machines currently have over 1,000 defects logged against the New York State standards. At the State Board meeting Commissioner Douglas Kellner said:

“ES&S and Dominion both have brought us equipment that has not been Quality Control tested before they brought it for certification to New York. That literally thousands of defects and failure to comply with the guidelines have been identified.”

Since these systems are currently massively failing New York’s preliminary testing (and Ulster county would need to use these failed versions) it will undoubtedly contain many known defects and even more unknown ones - using these systems in an actual election is unconscionable.

Using untested, uncertified machines is a truly terrible idea and something we’ve fought against from the beginning. Ulster County voters must not be guinea pigs and have to vote on systems which can’t even pass the initial testing phases. I strongly urge Ulster County do what every other county in New York State is doing and require that all their systems complete and pass New York State certification testing before they’re used in an election.

3 Responses to “County Considers Using Untested Scanners”

  1. Thank you for this Web Site. I was just referred to it. I am glad someone is keeping track of what is happening.

    Doug McGivney

  2. New York is so much bigger than Florida - - without tested and approved, reliable machines, problems in counting the votes could be disastrous.
    New York should invest in creating a company that can manufacture and service the old machines. The system in place for years is the most tamper proof and consistent.

  3. It is time for Ulster County Residents to bombard our two election inspectors, Tom Turco and John Parete with letters, e-mail and phone calls on this issue. They seem to need extreme pressure to “Do the right thing”!

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