as PDF ~44kb]
County Election commissioners in New York State have been given the
sole authority to select new voting systems. The choice they make will
affect the way we vote for years to come, and must not be made lightly.
New Yorkers for Verified Voting and the New York State League of
Women Voters are conducting a campaign calling for election commissioners
to provide a detailed accounting of their reasons for choosing a voting
system to the citizens of the county prior to acquisition of the system.
Persons who are "accountable" are required to furnish
a justifying analysis or explanation for their actions. In a democracy,
some degree of accountability on the part of officials usually is guaranteed
by the fact that they must stand for re-election. But county election
commissioners are appointed officials whom the public has no direct
way to hold accountable for the choices they make. The accountability
campaign calls for a full explanation and accounting for the voting
system choice to the public.
FOUR STEPS FOR YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY CAMPAIGN:
- Circulate and gather signatures to the Petition for Accountability
- Distribute Accountability Questionnaires to county officials
- Write letters to county legislators, election commissioners,
and local newspapers addressing the issues and calling for accountability
- Pass Resolutions calling for the most reliable modern voting
|1. Circulate and gather signatures to the Petition for Accountability
- In each county, a coordinator should see that the petition is
taken to all possible venues and/or carried door-to-door.
- The coordinator should deliver completed petitions to the County
Board of Elections at least once a month, keeping a copy and sending
one to New Yorkers for Verified Voting, P.O. Box 163, Mecklenburg,
- Very important! - Deliver copies of the signed petitions to
the appropriate county legislature committee.
- Let the media know about the numbers of signatures you’ve
- Get each person on your lists to fill at least one page of signatures.
Then get them out to any public meetings called by the Boards of
Printable petitions can
be downloaded here [~8kb PDF]
A printable flier or sign that
may help with the petition drive [~13kb
Below is the petition text:
A Petition to the County Boards of Elections for Accountability
We, the undersigned, hereby petition the County Board of Elections
to make public its decision and the reasoning for its decision about
a new voting system before the equipment is chosen. This report should
be made at an advertised open meeting, where members of the public
may respond. A two-week period for public comment should follow. Comments
received from the public must then be published with response from
the Board of Elections before finalizing the choice of equipment.
|2. Distribute Accountability Questionnaires to county officials
Election Commissioners as well as county legislators should receive
questionnaires about cost and security issues that should be answered
in order to reach a responsible decision about new voting systems.
- Every election commissioner should receive a copy of the questionnaire
and be asked to submit their answers to the public through county
newspapers or at the open meeting called for in the petition.
- Every county legislator should receive a copy of the questionnaire
and report their answers to the questions to their constituents.
This can be done in person or in combination with letters requesting
accountability (see Item 3).
- In particular, citizens should pursue answers to the questionnaires
from members of the legislative committee that oversees the Board
of Elections as well as of committees overseeing financial matters.
The county Committees on buildings and grounds may also be important,
since they will make recommendations about storage space for
the new machines.
- Also important is to make the local press aware of citizen
calls for accountability, and to get the media calling for full
answers in public to these questions as well.
Questionnaires can be downloaded here
|3. Write letters to county legislators, election commissioners,
and local newspapers addressing the issues and calling for
County legislators and election commissioners should be asked in writing
by as many citizens as possible to give a full accounting to the public
prior to the decision about a new voting system.
- Send letters to your county legislators, election officials,
and local newspapers in each county. These letters should ask for
a full accounting of voting system choices and complete answers
to the questionnaires distributed above.
- Get as many letters sent as possible, especially to your legislators
who will be sensitive to issues they know are important to voters.
Sample Letters, compatible with any text processor, can be downloaded
here: Accountability [~7kb
RTF], Security [~6kb
RTF], Storage [~10kb RTF]
|4. Pass Resolutions calling for the most reliable modern voting
Some town and county legislatures in New York State have passed resolutions
favoring voting systems which use paper ballots, optical ballot scanners,
and ballot markers for accessibility. Copies of resolutions which have
been adopted are available at http://www.nyvv.org/resolutions.shtml.
- Make sure you know how resolutions are brought to the legislature.
- Usually, resolutions must be presented by a particular official
(member of Town Board or County Legislature) and/or through a committee.
Approach a sympathetic legislator or ask to be on the agenda of
the particular committee of the legislature charged with oversight
of the Board of Elections.
- Discover which committee sets the agenda for your meetings of
the legislature. Take this into account at every step.
Many county legislatures do most of their work in committees.
Sometimes they call meetings of the "Committee of the Whole" where
legislators not on the particular committee are invited to participate
in the consideration of legislation, so that it has been aired more
widely before coming up for a formal vote. These are important opportunities.
Make sure you have observers at crucial committee meetings, even
when you are not on the agenda.
- Build support from additional legislators by having their constituents
talk with them.
- Take an effective presentation about PBOS to the relevant committee/s
with a proposal for a resolution. Or get particular legislators to
bring the resolution.
- Make sure the press knows what you are doing.
- Find out the arrangements for public comment in your towns and
counties. Utilize those opportunities to call for a proposal and/or
Accountability resolutions can be downloaded here
Resolutions which have been adopted in several counties can be downloaded