Voting Integrity Group Releases Elections Study
For Immediate Release: 30 June 2009
Contacts: W. Stinson, 518.287.1463, firstname.lastname@example.org
S. Spivak, 518.234.3840, email@example.com
The Voting Integrity Project, an initiative of the Peacemakers of Schoharie County, has published a performance critique of the county Board of Elections. The study compares Schoharie County voter registration, election turnout statistics and other data with those of five other upstate counties with similar population numbers: Allegany, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware and Essex.
The group has been outspoken in its advocacy for secure paper ballot voting, and against the so-called touch-screen electronic voting machines, for the past few years. “It’s not good enough to have trustworthy voting systems. For democracy to thrive citizens must be informed, engaged and actually go to the polls.” said Voting Integrity Project Coordinator Wayne Stinson. “We have begun to look at what needs to be done to improve citizen participation.” he continued.
Representatives of the Voting Integrity Project had met with Schoharie County Supervisors last fall to propose creation of a Citizens’ Advisory Board for Election Administration but the initiative was blocked when Election Commissioners refused to meet with the group. “It was very frustrating to have the Election Commissioners refuse to even listen to our proposal and disappointing that the Supervisors were not willing to move the process forward.” said Project member Susan Spivack.
The Voting Integrity Project has decided to continue their efforts without the cooperation of the Board of Elections or the Election Commissioners. “We will do what we can to identify problems and develop suggestions for correction or improvements. We would have liked to have the Board of Elections cooperation but we will still be able to provide the Supervisors with useful information.” Stinson said.
The report is critical of the Schoharie County Board of Elections voter registration efforts stating “The numbers tell us there is a large group of Schoharie County citizens who are not participating in their governance. …one in four eligible voters is not registered.” It also noted “[The] numbers indicate that voter registration efforts were significantly more successful in [the other] counties than they were in Schoharie County. Raising the percentage of eligible voters registered clearly should be a goal for Schoharie County. …our voter registration outreach needs to be revised and expanded”
The study also found “…[the] high undervote (instances where a voter does not indicate a choice) seems to indicate a need for increased public education concerning ballot contents and the issues they represent.”