The Rural Patriot

August 17, 2006

NY State and HAVA Compliance – Update

Filed under: Federal Government,New York State — theruralpatriot @ 2:40 pm

This past Tuesday, the NY State Board of Elections approved a plan for submission regarding NYS’s compliance with the “Help America Vote Act”.  We are the last of all 50 states to come into compliance with this act.

ALBANY — New York state on Tuesday went ahead with plans that would make it compliant with the federal Help America Vote Act by the 2007 election.
Under HAVA, state officials are looking to replace all of New York’s about 20,000 lever-action voting machines with high-tech devices. But the state board has said it is not feasible to have new machinery in place everywhere until the 2007 elections.
States were required to replace all punch-card and lever machines by November’s election.

The lever machines we currently use will not be allowed for use in NYS after November 1, 2007.

Here is the current schedule.  There is the possibility that this still could be delayed and pushed back to 2008.

• Develop test plans for new machines by Oct. 6.
• Complete a report on security of the machines by Nov. 20.
• Finish testing machines by Dec. 11.
• Certify or reject machines by Dec. 22.
• Finish handicapped-compliance regulations by Feb. 21.
• Train election inspectors on new machines by March 19.
• Print and deliver election materials by May 16.
• Test and accept or reject voting machines by July 6.
• Verify that security is working, Sept. 11, 2007.

Individual counties are responsible for determining which type of machine to use, and the federal government will cover the cost of the machines.  The NYS Election Board has to test the available brands before the counties make their choice.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law recently completed a study “of the three most commonly purchased electronic voting systems: electronic machines (“DREs”) with – and without – a voter verified paper trail, and precinct-counted optical scan systems (“PCOS”)”.  The panel:

… government and private sector scientists, voting machine experts, and security professionals on the Task Force worked together for more than a year. The members of the non-partisan panel were drawn from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”), the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, leading research universities, and include many of the nation’s foremost security experts.

Their conclusion:

All of the most commonly purchased electronic voting systems have significant security and reliability vulnerabilities. All three systems are equally vulnerable to an attack involving the insertion of corrupt software or other software attack programs designed to take over a voting machine.

Automatic audits, done randomly and transparently, are necessary if paper records are to enhance security. The report called into question basic assumptions of many election officials by finding that the systems in 14 states using voter-verified paper records but doing so without requiring automatic audits are of “questionable security value.”

Wireless components on voting machines are particularly vulnerable to attack. The report finds that machines with wireless components could be attacked by “virtually any member of the public with some knowledge of software and a simple device with wireless capabilities, such as a PDA.”

(Currently, only New York and Minnesota ban wireless components on all machines.)

The vast majority of states have not implemented election procedures or countermeasures to detect a software attack even though the most troubling vulnerabilities of each system can be substantially remedied.

The BOE has the time and information available from many sources and other states’ experiences to make wise and knowledgeable decisions as to what voting machines the counties will have to choose from. 

Let’s hope that they use this available knowledge in their final decisions.



  1. yyyikes….I have to get more informed on voting machines…thanks for this info.

    Comment by Buffalo Girl — August 20, 2006 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  2. You are welcome. I really hope that NY State makes wise choices and that we don’t endure the problems that other states have encountered with their machines. Voting integrity is an extremely important issue and deserves a high level of attention with the follow-through/decision-making process.

    Comment by theruralpatriot — August 20, 2006 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  3. This is an outrage. The current administration odviously has no concern about the vote being democratic. What can we do?

    Comment by Sarah McLain — September 21, 2006 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  4. Here is a good starting point for action: New Yorkers for Verified Voting. Here is their Take Action page.

    A growing network of citizens all over New York State is working on the issue of Electronic Voting and the voting process. We can provide you with resources, tips, and contacts to help you take action in your area. Find out what you can do here.

    This linked page lists the following action items:

    NYVV Petition Drive For Paper Ballot/Optical Scan Voting Systems
    Challenge the Election Commissioners’ Association policy of excluding NYVV
    Other Current Actions
    Prepare for Machine Demonstrations
    The County Campaign
    Petition Drive
    Reports for PBOS Advocates

    Comment by theruralpatriot — September 21, 2006 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  5. Just wanted to comment on how much I enjoy reading your posts.
    Thanks …. RE

    Comment by residual income opportunities — September 29, 2006 @ 12:43 am | Reply

  6. Really enjoy your blog and look forward to your future entries.
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    Comment by internet home business opportunity — October 2, 2006 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

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