The Department of Justice has sent a letter to New York indicating their intent to file a lawsuit against New York State due to our non-compliance with HAVA.
The implications of this, and how it proceeds, are huge. Just how far will the DOJ go to ensure compliance with HAVA? Will they take back the HAVA funds and fine us, or impose a new deadline, or are there more ominous possibilities -- a federal judge stepping in and choosing NY's voting machines, or enforcing a DOJ-imposed implementation plan?
On January 10, 2006, the Department of Justice sent a letter to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the New York State Board of Elections informing them that:
"I have authorized the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of the United States against the State of New York as well as the New York State Board of Elections, et al, pursuant to Sections 301 and 303(a) of the Help America Vote Act of 2002, 42 U.S.C && 15481 and 15483(a).Section 401 of HAVA, 42 U.S.C. & 15511, authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action in federal district court for such declaratory and injunctive relief as is necessary to carry out the requirements of Title III of HAVA."
New York is considered non-compliant with the voting machine provisions of HAVA (section 301), and the voter registration database requirements (Section 303).
The letter is clear that they feel New York is the worst of the worst non-compliant states:
"It is beyond dispute that New York is not now in compliance..."
"...it is clear that New York is not close to approaching full HAVA compliance, and , in our view, is further behind in that regard than any other state in the country."
They state that resolution may be resolved through a
"negotiated consent decree rather than through costly and protracted litigation"
and ask if NY is willing to
"enter into negotiations for a fair and equitable settlement of this matter..."