NY Judiciary: Answers more important that Accurate Answers

Bo Lipari summarizes the situation in New York in his blog post: Count The Paper <read>

In the first test case of how we verify election results using New York’s new paper ballots, the State Judiciary is in the process of setting an egregious precedent – Judges are free to nullify audits and recounts in the interests of having a quick decision. In Nassau County’s contested 7th Senate District (SD7) race, two State Courts that have heard the case to date have made very bad decisions. Ruling that even if New York’s audit laws require a further hand count of paper ballots, accepting the machine results and declaring a winner outweigh the public’s right to know who really won the election

This demonstrates something I’ve been saying for a long time – getting new systems and paper ballots was only the first step towards verifiable elections. Now that we have the paper ballots, we’ve got to work on using them correctly. And that means knowing when we need to count them. In New York State, that means we citizens will have to push for changes to New York’s election law that allow recounts when warranted, making them more specific and subsequently less subject to judicial fiat. Here’s three changes we New Yorkers could make to the law that would get us a lot closer to where we need to be: [Risk-limiting audits, audits can escalate to change the result, and recounts on close elections]

Sadly,  after three years and six major elections Connecticut has none of the three voting integrity items Bo recommends for New York. We do have a recanvass which is useful in moderately close elections, but insufficient in really close ones. As we have said in our Ten Myths:

Myth #9 – If there is ever a concern we can always count the paper.

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