Nassau County Refuses to Accept More Failing Systems
Guest Blogged by Bo Lipari ofNew Yorkers For Verified Voting...
You would have thought that since there have beenso many documented problems in other states over the years that voting machine vendors would have gone out of their way to make sure new systems being deployed in the Empire State were thoroughly tested, met all state requirements, and worked flawlessly.
At a minimum, you would expect that any business fulfilling an enormous, multi-million-dollar contract to a new client would make sure the systems were, well, at least operational. But, incredibly, you would be wrong. The machines which ES&S and Sequoia are providing to New York State are failing initial testing at a rate which would astound anyone – unless you’ve been following the voting machine industry for the last 10 years.
I discussed these problems on myJuly 2, 2008 Voice of the Voters [MP3] radio show with my guest, Bill Biamonte, Election Commissioner of Nassau County, the second largest Board of Elections in the state which serves over 870,000 voters. In a June 26 letter to Judge Gary Sharpe, who ordered New York State to complete its Help America Vote Act implementation by 2009, Nassau County reports the unbelievably high failure rates they’re finding in the systems they’ve received:
"…of the 156 BMDs [Ballot Marking Devices] received by Nassau through June 26, 2008-after the SBOE acceptance tested them in Albany-have substantial operational flaws that render them unusable or that require major repairs. 29 were rejected immediately when they were unloaded from the truck because of obvious physical defects or damages, such as a broken side of the printer. 62 failed diagnostic testing because of problems with the USB cord and the printer. And 42 failed Nassau’s acceptance testing for a variety of reasons, such as nonresponsive key pads and battery failure. Out of a total of 156 BMDs, only 23 can be used by voters in the condition they were received in."
On the radio show we broke an important story – on July 1 Nassau County wrote a second letter to the Court explaining that they willrefuse to accept any more systems until the vendor resolves the huge number of problems with the systems:
"In view of the foregoing, Nassau respectfully requests this Court to order the SBOE to demand that its vendor Sequoia immediately make arrangements to repair or replace the damaged or defective BMDs so that Nassau has adequate time to implement the BMDs in time for the September primary elections - elections that are now roughly two months away."
"Nassau believes it has no sound alternative but to postpone delivery of its remaining BMDs until the problem is addressed. We believe this is the only sensible course of action, given the strong likelihood that damaged BMDs will either have to be replaced or shipped elsewhere for repair and then shipped back to Nassau County, wasting precious time immediately before the primary elections."
As I said, if you’ve been following the voting system industry over the last few years it won’t surprise you to hear of colossal failure rates, and $12,000 machines that won’t even start up. This is why it’s vitally important we continue our work towardcitizen oversight of elections.
As part of this job,New Yorkers for Verified Voting, along with the League of Women Voters and many others worked long and hard in 2006 to get the state to adopt regulations that are among the most rigorous voting system certification requirements in the country. It is due in great part to these regulations that it has been so difficult, and continues to be difficult, for the shoddy merchandise that the voting machine companies are foisting on us to be approved in New York State.
Now let’s hope that Judge Gary Sharpe agrees that it would be a travesty of justice to force New York State voters to vote on broken systems, and that he turns a hard eye on the voting machine vendors who are taking our taxpayer dollars and selling us - let me be blunt - nothing but crap.
Republished fromBo Lipari's Blog...