Statement from New York State Senate Elections Committee Chair Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. RE Board of Elections Vote to Certify Modern Voting Machines Compliant With the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)

December 16, 2009

“Nothing is more important to ensure citizens’ confidence in our democratically elected government  than the integrity of the ballot and the voting process.”
“The decision today by the State Board of Elections to certify new optical scan voting machines is a momentous occasion that marks the beginning of a new era of voting in New York State.  The State Board has engaged in a long and meticulous process over a period of almost three years, during which they have examined every aspect of the programming and operation of these machines, including reviewing millions of lines of code, to make sure that they are trustworthy and accurate.  These machines have been tested harder and subjected to more requirements than any system in the nation, and the voters of the State of New York should feel confident that they will produce accurate and reliable results.”
“The Elections Committee, in the exercise of its oversight powers, has held hearings and taken testimony from elections commissioners, the machine manufacturers and interested members of the public regarding these machines and their performance in a pilot program in 47 of our 62 counties. While some concerns have been expressed regarding privacy because of the layout of poll sites, as well as difficulties some poll workers have had in operating these machines, these are easily curable election management issues that have nothing to do with the reliability of these machines.  The testimony and reports we have received, and the audits of the results produced by the machines, revealed that they accurately recorded and reported the ballot selections made by the voters. The optical scan technology also preserves voters ballots, commonly referred to as a ‘paper trail,’ ensuring the ability to conduct an accurate recount as necessary.
“I am confident that pertinent issues we addressed during oversight hearings will be addressed and that the optical scan voting machines that were certified today will ensure that every vote is counted on Election Day, and counted accurately. All New Yorkers can be confident that they have the most trustworthy and reliable voting machines that are available anywhere.”