Westchester voting machines

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We understand that the Westchester Board of Elections is seeking to purchase Dominion ImageCast Evolution (ICE) voting machines. Because these machines present a number of problems to the administration of voting in Westchester County, we recommend that the Board of Elections abandon the plan to purchase these new voting machines.

The ICE machines have technical flaws that make them vulnerable to hacking and security failures. According to Andrew W. Appel, PhD., Computer Science professor at Princeton University, and many other computer experts, these machines allow marks to be added after the voter has cast a ballot. This could change the selection or invalidate any manipulated ballot. Meaningful audits or recounts require that hand-marked paper ballots be saved exactly as they were cast or every election’s results can be called into question. This is very costly and destabilizing.

On October 26 of this year New York will begin early voting for the first time. We are now so close to the beginning of early voting that there is very little time to train poll workers on the use of any new system, let alone to develop and implement procedures to protect against the potential security vulnerabilities of the ICE machines. Any failures or confusion at polling places in this fall’s election could seriously erode public confidence in the integrity of voting and even discourage turnout in subsequent elections.

It is imperative that voters have confidence that their votes are counted as cast. The intent of the voting reform laws passed this year in Albany is to make voting more available and increase turnout. These machines will erode confidence, destroying the intent of this historic legislation.

Even though the ICE machines are tested for functionality and certified by the New York State Board of Elections, we believe that Westchester should not buy these new machines for use in 2019 or in the future. Instead, we recommend that the County encourage the New York State Board of Elections to explore and certify a wider range of voting administration solutions than Dominion ICE or the one other system (ES&S) currently approved for purchase by local jurisdictions. It is essential that Westchester County and the State of New York proceed carefully to make sure voters have a convenient, efficient, secure system in whose integrity they can have complete confidence.

Gail Sasso, Coordinator of CCoHOPE Indivisible
Kate Ray, Voting Reform Committee
Rob Abbot, Communications Committee