Teresa Hommel

www.wheresthepaper.org

Chairwoman, Task Force on Election Integrity of Community Church of New York

Press Conference celebrating Passage of Resolution 131 by the City Council

March 14, 2007 at City Hall, New York

Leadership and Victory

 

Resolution 131 urges the adoption of paper ballots, optical scanners, and accessible ballot marking devices for voters with special needs. Thatís the kind of new voting system that we the people want, when New York has to replace our old mechanical lever voting machines.

 

With Resolution 131, the New York City Council is showing the kind of leadership that this whole country sorely needs.

 

The passage of this resolution will be a victory for democracy, and for every voter in New York City.

 

With this resolution, the Council is saying that we don't want invisible electronic ballots that no one can see or verify because they are inside a computer.

 

The Council is saying that we don't want to have to call for the Ph.Ds, the computer scientists and statisticians, to tell us whether our votes were cast as we intended, or counted as cast.

 

We donít want to have to consult with experts to find out if our votes were lost due to fraud, innocent errors, poor poll worker training, or voter mistakes.

 

We are tired of glitches and irregularities caused by electronic voting machines all over this country.

 

We are tired of no one being responsible when the computers donít work. We are tired of Boards of Elections that buy electronic equipment in the face of public demand for voting systems that everyone can understand. And everyone can understand paper.

 

The New York City Council is saying that elections belong to the people. Everyone knows how to take a pen or pencil, and darken in the little circle next to your candidateís name on the paper ballot. Everyone knows how to watch the ballot box and guard it. Everyone understands paper.

 

The Council is saying that we, the people, have a right to participate fully -- as voters, poll workers, and election observers. That can't happen when our votes are hidden inside a computer, but it can happen with paper ballots.

 

The Council is saying that our Board of Elections should keep it simple, and use paper ballots.

 

We are grateful for Council Member Charles Barron for being Lead Sponsor of Resolution 131.

 

We are grateful for Council Member Simcha Felder, Chairman of the Governmental Operations Committee, and Council Member Gale Brewer, Chairwoman of the Technology in Government Committee, for the hours and hours of hearings they held, to let the people speak from our hearts and minds, about the need for a way to vote that is simple, understandable, and manageable.

 

We are grateful for Speaker Christine Quinn for bringing Resolution 131 to a vote.

 

Thank you for your leadership, and this victory for all New Yorkers.