Testimony on the voting machine pilot I gave at the New York State Senate Election Committee’s hearing on November 30, 2009. Full submitted testimony is posted here.
New York State was wise to do a pilot of our new voting systems. It provides an opportunity to work out the kinks in new systems and the procedures for managing them, allows us to learn from the inevitable mistakes, and to apply what we learn in the future. In my opinion, New York’s just concluded pilot was extremely valuable and revealed some important areas that need improvement. Certainly, privacy and ballot design issues often came up. However, given my limited speaking time I will submit comments on those two issues with my written testimony. Today I will discuss another pilot experience from which important lessons can be learned – the failure of some of the new voting machines and how New York can benefit from this failure.
Questions Raised in NY-23 Congressional Race
The NY-23 Congressional race had national attention, with 9 of 47 pilot counties holding elections in this race. Despite assurances from vendors, some of the new machines were inoperable on Election Day. In cases where machines failed, paper ballots were treated according to New York State emergency ballot rules, assuring that all votes were counted. Indeed, this is the great strength of New York’s new voting system – it ultimately relies on the marked paper ballot which contains a software independent record of voter intent.