TO: Hon. George Latimer, Westchester County Executive
Hon. Benjamin Boykin II, Chair of the Westchester Board of Legislators
FROM: CCoHOPE Indivisible
DATE: Sent on June 3, 2020 – Published herein on June 6, 2020
RE: Proposed purchase of Dominion ICE Hybrid Voting Machines
CROTON-On-HUDSON, NY — June 6, 2020 — Now is not the time for Westchester County to be spending over $6,000,000 to purchase four hundred new Dominion ICE hybrid voting machines, as the County Board of Elections proposed at its June 1, 2020 meeting with the Board of Legislators. Credible studies have shown these machines to be vulnerable to hacking, and they do not provide a clean paper trail of the voter’s intent because hybrid voting machines can add marks after a ballot is fed into the machine. The possibility of a trustworthy audit or recount, based on a clean paper trail for every ballot, is essential to insuring voter confidence in our election system.
In addition to these security concerns, the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the need for a massive purchase of new machines into question. If the November 3, 2020 General Election is to be conducted largely by mail, why would Westchester County move forward with the purchase of new machines at this time?
The Covid-19 shutdown has created a financial crisis for Westchester County government. Whatever funds can be made available for elections in 2020 should be spent to expand absentee voting, improve early voting, make polling sites safe for voters and election staff, and recruit poll workers to replace any older workers who are hesitant to serve because of their vulnerability to the coronavirus.
I addition, we urge the County to reject the proposed bond for these five specific reasons:
- The Board of Elections has not adequately documented the immediate need for 400 new machines. At its June 1 meeting with the Board of Legislators, the BOE Commissioners were vague about how many machines would be required in 2020 and how many were intended to meet future needs.
- There are other voting systems in development that may make the Dominion ICE machines obsolete within a few years.
- There is currently a bill in the NY Senate to make the general use of hybrid machines illegal. There are similar proposals on the federal level as well.
- Proposals to move New York elections to a mail-in ballot system make the proposed purchase of new machines unwise at this time.
- Dominion ICE hybrid machines are very expensive compared to simpler alternatives, including the purchase of additional scanners of the type Westchester County currently uses. These machines have the capability to provide a clean paper trail for every ballot cast.
The proposal of the Westchester Board of Elections for issuance of more than $6,000,000 in bonds has not been justified and should be rejected in favor of an independent study of future needs and the alternatives to widespread use of hybrid voting technology.
Gail Sasso, CCoHOPE Indivisible Coordinator
Kate Ray, CCoHOPE Indivisible Election Committee Chair
Rob Abbot, CCoHOPE Indivisible Communications Committee Chair
CCoHOPE Indivisible is a grassroots group of citizens and voters in Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, and Peekskill who hold themselves responsible for preserving and improving a political system organized around equality, diversity, social progress and vision.
cc: Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators