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Around the States

New York: Tell it to the Judge PDF  | Print |  Email
By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting   
August 04, 2008
State Board informs Court of schedule delay

This article was posted at Bo Lipari's Blog and is reposted here with permission of the author.

As I reported in my last post, problems encountered during New York State’s tough certification testing has caused the timeline for the 2009 rollout of state’s new voting machines to slip. Now the State Board of Elections has notified the Court that it will not be possible to complete testing on schedule and deploy the new machines in time for the September 2009 primary, as the Court has ordered.

The state, in its July 25 Status Report to Judge Gary Sharpe for the first time gives formal notice that:

“Overall, activities and progress toward HAVA compliance are in jeopardy…”


“For the first time, and after affirmatively representing that the time line for certification testing could still be met as recently as July 17, 2008, the most recent weekly status meeting, on July 24, 2008 SysTest admitted that it was behind schedule and would not make the October 1, 2008 certification testing completion date.”


Why did this happen?

The Board confirms that ongoing problems with the machines vendors have supplied for testing continue to delay progress:

“In the July 24, 2008 weekly status meeting SysTest announced that the vendors were not ready for testing at this point in time due to various issues, among them: documentation issues, testing machines supplied which did not function, lacked harddrives and or USB ports and therefore could not be tested.”


Both vendors, ES&S and Sequoia, continue to demonstrate significant problems, even in these early stages of testing:

“As of July 24, 2008 the timeline allowed only 16 days for the run for the record test by SysTest and when the Sequoia software was loaded up for a test pass, it crashed.”

Missing and/or malfunctioning equipment and/or peripherals from this vendor [ES&S] continue to be an issue.”

But it’s not just the vendors. Even SysTest, the contractor hired by the state to perform its certification testing, seems unable to understand what is needed to test voting machines to a meaningful standard:

“SysTest’s response to this development, which it reported for the first time on July 24, 2008, was that it was not prepared for the amount of test planning and the complexity of the testing.”

Back in January 2006, New Yorkers for Verified Voting submitted recommendations to the State Board of Elections for tough voting machine certification standards. Much of our advice was adopted in state regulations, a significant victory for citizens in their demand for the highest testing standards in the country. But those hard fought standards could now be tossed aside by the Judge.

The Department of Justice, along with the vendors, will argue that since all other states are using equipment that doesn’t comply with current federal standards, New York can’t be allowed to be an exception. This argument essentially says New York can set any standard it wants, but it has no right to actually enforce that standard - even when the vendors demonstrably can’t meet it.

If the Court rules that the new systems must be rolled out in 2009 whether or not they’ve passed state testing, the vendors will have been given a big giant pass – a judicial blessing allowing them to continue raking in millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars while supplying bad equipment; a slap in the face for the public’s right to require accountability and quality from those who would profit off our vote.

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