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The Altamont Resolution

On February 6, 2007 the Board of Trustees of the Village of Altamont in Albany County passed a resolution calling for adoption of paper ballots, precinct count scanners and accessible ballot markers as the county’s voting system. [~25kb PDF]

One of the Trustees who approved the resolution, Harvey Vlahos, wrote a message which eloquently describes why resolutions are important, and what citizens can do at the local level to work adopt them. It is reproduced with permission below.

Like a growing number of Americans I was both appalled and alarmed at the erosion of one of the basic rights of our democracy, the right to vote and have it be counted. There's been a groundswell of support to not let corporate interests take over this foundation upon which everything America stands for is built. As a member of the Board of Trustees in Altamont, I researched the issue and put forth the attached resolution stating that the Altamont Village Board supported the Paper Ballot, Optical Scan system of voting for its accuracy, verifiability, lower cost and a host of other advantages. A copy of the resolution was sent to virtually every other public official from the governor's office, to the assembly and senate members to the county legislature. While the decision of which system to adopt is not our Village Board's, our resolution clearly states our preference and adds the Village residents' voices to a growing number who are demanding our right to vote not be sacrificed to corporate interests in the form of Direct Record Electronic or DRE's.

I would encourage all elected officials to sponsor such a resolution and I would further encourage individual members of the public, civic groups and even religious organizations to sponsor resolutions and pass them on to every elected official who may in any way influence the final decision on voting systems.

On the local level I would encourage average citizens to attend their local government meetings and ask the governing body to adopt such a resolution. Bring a copy of a resolution and whatever supporting material they feel might be helpful and ask the members to consider such a resolution. There are many resolutions available on line as well as extremely detailed documentation on the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems. Individuals and groups should take care to keep the basic resolutions as brief as possible while still making the point. The more details, the more room for nit-picking and the potential for bogging down. At this point, most of the decision makers know all the details. The purpose of the resolution is to "cast a vote" for PBOS. Add the body of support material as a separate document. Together we can reclaim our right to vote.

Harvey Vlahos
Trustee, Village of Altamont, New York
Altamont, NY

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