Thursday, January 24, 2008

Partisanship, Arrogance, Malfeasance & We Won!

My earliest contact with the NY State Board of Elections with respect to our struggle against electronic voting machines was over three years ago. At that time I delivered a written complaint which included an observation that one machine vendor was receiving favorable treatment. Our complaint was delivered to Chairman Neil Kelleher(R) .

I explained the board's actions could be cause for suspicion and I demanded explanations which might assure NY citizens that the board was not corrupted and was indeed living up to their mission statement. The following from their mission statement:

"...In addition to the regulatory and enforcement responsibilities the board is charged with the preservation of citizen confidence in the democratic process and enhancement in voter participation in elections."

I never did get an answer to this question or the many others asked since. The accuracy of the suspicions I expressed back then was borne out this week in Saratoga.

The NYS Board of Elections met Wednesday morning concurrent with the Election Commissioners Association meeting at the Holiday Inn, Saratoga. County Election Commissioners, their staff, news media, and election integrity advocates were all there to hear which machines the state board would authorize as ballot marking devices because much hangs on the type of equipment chosen(see my earlier post concerning the BMD issue). I was there also.

I will spare you all the gory details. In short, the two Republican State Election Commissioners (Kelleher & Donohue) prevented a decision from being made by simply not coming into the room - no Republican Commissioners - no meeting - no vote!

Furthermore, there was no pretense. The Republicans were holding out for the inclusion of the LibertyVote machine - the same machine we believed was getting special treatment at the beginning. For a heartfelt description of the goings on at Saratoga check out Bo Lipari's blog:

As the day wore on into early evening we learned that the two recalcitrant commissioners were serving the interests of Senate Majority leader J. Bruno. And Bruno is serving who? And who is the Republican party serving?

The actions
this day of these partisan operatives make a powerfrul arguement for reform of New York election administration. We desperately need an independent, non-partisan system of election administration.

Some election integrity advocates vowed to return to Saratoga Thursday to watch over the miscreants and perhaps shame them into making the right decision.

WE WON! - Thursday 1/24/08 11:40 AM, This message from Susan Lipari:

"The Board just approved the Automark and the Dominion. No DRE was approved."

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