State Litigation: The Only Hope for Preserving the Integrity of NY’s Elections — Your Help is Needed
New York State in 2010 became the 50th state in the U.S. to move entirely to electronic vote-counting systems that make it impossible for election officials, official observers, candidates, or the public to determine whether the announced vote totals accurately represent the votes cast. These secret vote-counting systems violate the principles of a constitutional democracy as represented in two centuries of statutory law and judicial precedence interpreting New York’s Constitution.
The Election Transparency Coalition (ETC) hopes to obtainthe first ruling from an American court declaring that a method of voting in which essential steps are not publicly observable is unconstitutional. ETC, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and organizing New Yorkers to retain and where necessary restore public oversight and control over our elections, is preparing to file a lawsuit. After a two-year search for a law firm to represent us on a pro bono basis, we are now seeking funds to hire a law firm should we continue to be unable to get dependable pro bono representation. Financial assistance to help with court costs, and volunteers for media work and advocacy related to the court case are vital to our success.
ETC founder and attorney Andrea Novick’s extensive legal research has unearthed a wealth of Court of Appeals precedence for the essential principles of a democratic electoral system including:
- the need for public observability/transparency at all stages of the electoral process, while each step is being taken and not just after the fact;
- the responsibility of the legislature to protect the integrity of the elections by enacting rules designed to eliminate all known opportunities for fraud;
- the requirement that an accurate, verified, completed count be ascertained on election night, while the public surveillance provided at the poll site is continuous;
- the requirement that publicly observed physical evidence of the count be created and preserved, which evidence takes precedence over any evidence created outside of public view;
- forbidding the government from having exclusive control over any essential step of the electoral process;
- the requirement that the evidence of the count be preserved inviolate for judicial review and as still another safeguard against fraud.
Each and every one of these mandates, as well as other constitutional requirements, is violated by ERMA, New York’s Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005. ERMA is unconstitutional.