Verified Voting Blog: Statement on New York Voting System Certification

This is my opening statement for today’s meeting of New York’s Citizen Election Modernization Advisory Committee, which was created by the State Legislature to advise the Board of Elections on adoption of the new systems. Testing is now completed and results are being evaluated, with the State Board of Elections scheduled to make a determination on certifying systems on December 15th. We have come to an important moment in New York’s saga in adopting HAVA compliant voting systems. The long and rigorous testing required by New York State’s laws and regulations, arguably the best in the nation, has now been completed. Remaining is the difficult part – determining whether the systems have met the high standards required by New York State.

We have been presented with a huge amount of data to evaluate, and have only an extremely short time in which to do so. I’m pleased the Board staff has set aside this day to answer all our questions, but I am concerned that even the long, intense session we are embarking on may be insufficient to thoroughly assess the volume of data before us. Nevertheless, I look forward to today’s session and getting answers to the literally hundreds of questions I have about the test results.

Finally, here are my thoughts on what we should use as our evaluation criteria to determine whether the systems have met New York’s standards. It is simple – the systems must meet specific standards set forth by state law and regulation. In New York’s case, this also includes meeting standards defined in the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines of 2005. New York is the first state in the country to require compliance with this standard, so the results here have national implications as well.

The results present a large matrix of the tests outcome against specific requirements of New York law and regulation. It seems to me that our criteria for recommending a system is this – have the specific requirements of New York State law been met? After all, we can’t pick and choose which aspects of the law we wish to comply with, the law is the law. So to me, our criteria for recommendation is straightforward. We cannot make a recommendation based on personal preferences. We can only base our recommendation on the specific requirements of the law. New York has been rightly proud of our best-in-the-nation certification process. Now we are obligated to our fellow citizens, for whom we stand in proxy, to assess whether those requirements have been fully met.

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