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Research Results from New Yorkers for Verified Voting

Acquisition and Operating Costs; Survey Results
Bo Lipari is leading the charge for reliable voting in New York. He and his group, New Yorkers for Verified Voting, have done extensive research. The resulting reports are extremely valuable information for all voting integrity activists.

Refuting Sequoia Claims about Optical Scan Voting. By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting. May, 2005.

In an attempt to counter the many advocates of paper ballots and precinct based optical scan voting systems, Sequoia Voting Systems is distributing a document titled “Correcting Fallacies about Voting Technology Options for New York” to legislators, news organizations, and election officials around New York State.

However, Sequoia’s statements in support of DREs are misleading, half-truths or just plain false. In this paper, we rebut the many flawed arguments found in the Sequoia document.
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Preliminary Optical Scan Survey Results. By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting. May, 2005.

New York State has been voting exclusively on lever machines for generations. Due to this lack of experience with any other type of voting systems, many of our local and state officials often accept false or inaccurate statements made about precinct based optical scan systems by supporters of touchscreen/pushbutton style voting machines (DREs) as fact. False statements about optical scan systems, such as ballot printing costs, numbers of machines required, and HAVA compliance have been disseminated by vendors and some election officials in an effort to dissuade New York from purchasing what in practice is a reliable, mature, auditable and cost effective voting system.
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Paper Ballot Costs and Printing. By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting. May, 2005.

New Yorkers for Verified Voting is conducting a survey of states and counties nationwide that have been using precinct based optical scan systems. One of the survey questions is the cost of printing optical scan ballots. It is interesting to note that relatively few Boards of Elections officials we interviewed actually know the price of printing ballots. Usually this is because the budgetary authority for printing ballots lies with local authorities rather than the BOE officials we spoke with. But this also implies that ballot printing costs are not problematic for these states – one would assume these officials would know the print costs quite exactly if their counties were in an uproar about the cost of optical scan ballots.
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Comments on the NYC EVS Voting Machine Report (below). By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting. April, 2005.

In February, 2005, the NYC Electronic Voting Systems Department released a preliminary draft report entitled “New Voting Machines — Report on Costs”. The report is a cost comparison analysis of different types of voting systems. The introductory remarks acknowledge that the report has, “… limited value as a reliable projection of actual costs …”; “… limited value for projecting actual costs …”; and “… only minimal data gathering and elementary analysis …”.

Despite these caveats about the usefulness of the report as an actual cost estimate, many state and local election officials and legislators have been quoting from the report as if it were a definitive study. This is unfortunate, as the EVS report is seriously flawed, relying on unsupported assumptions that exaggerate the costs of precinct based optical scan systems and underestimate the cost of full face ballot touchscreen/pushbutton electronic voting machines (DREs).
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Comparing Annual Costs of DRE and Optical Scan Systems. By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting. April, 2005.

When comparisons of annual maintenance costs of touch-screen/pushbutton direct recording electronic (DRE) devices and paper ballot/precinct based optical scanner (PBOS) systems are made, critics of PBOS systems typically point to increased ballot printing costs as evidence that these systems have higher annual per election expenses. But critics leave some other ongoing costs out of the equation, and often misstate the variables involved in estimating printing costs for each system. This brief analysis evaluates in more detail the ballot printing cost argument, and adds storage and transportation costs to the picture.
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Analysis of Acquisition Costs of DRE and Precinct Based Optical Scan Voting Equipment for New York State. By Bo Lipari, New Yorkers for Verified Voting. April, 2005.

In order to comply with the Help America to Vote Act (HAVA), New York State is planning to replace its existing lever machines with new equipment. The two types of systems under consideration are touch screen or pushbutton style voting machines (DREs), and hand marked paper ballots and precinct based optical scanners, augmented by ballot marking devices for disabled accessibility. New Yorkers for Verified Voting (www.nyvv.org) has analyzed the acquisition costs for the state of these two types of voting systems.
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New Voting Machines – Report on Costs. NYC Electronic Voting Systems Department. February, 2005 – Updated March 11, 2005

The EVS Department was asked to do a cost comparison analysis of the different types of voting methods and report on the results. The report is not intended to offer opinions or preferences of either the staff or the Commissioners of the Board of Elections in the City of New York, nor does it draw conclusions, make recommendations, or offer an endorsement of one voting method or another. The report is intended simply to present a discussion of various procurement and operational areas in which costs are incurred as related to different voting methods.

It’s important to note that at this time the report has limited value as a reliable projection of actual costs. The report is useful, however, in identifying cost areas, estimating costs, and furthering our understanding of the many variables involved.
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If I had it to do over again and knew everything I do today,
I'd go with optical scan.
~ Kristin Jacobs
Mayor of Broward County, Florida
(which uses touch screen voting machines)

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