Celebrity Ad for NY Paper Ballots Bill Gets Over Quarter Million Views

The Voting Integrity and Verification Act of New York A5934A(Cunningham)/ S6169A(Cleare) is on the New York Senate floor calendar, and is expected to pass there. But it is sitting in the Assembly like a car stuck in a Los Angeles traffic jam.
ALBANY, N.Y. - June 9, 2023 - PRLog -- In the ad, Mr. Braugher and Ms. Daniel Favors send a message to New York Legislators. "There's a crisis in New York and it could make it hard for our communities to vote. We want to be able to vote with a pen and paper the way we have for years. It's easy and quick and helps our voices to be heard. But powerful vendors are trying to sell us overpriced machines that can contribute to long lines. Please pass the bill called VIVA New York right now."

The visuals in the ad show footage of ten-hour lines to vote that have been documented in Georgia, a state that has no pen and paper option for in-person voting. It also shows positive images from communities of color and reinforces the idea that participating through voting helps our voices be heard.

"Voting is one of our most important and sacred rights as Americans, and it should be as easy as possible," said Assembly Member Brian A. Cunningham. "The VIVA NY bill allows voters to vote using a verifiable hand-marked paper ballot that they can mark privately and independently. Voters who want to use a ballot-marking device will continue to have that option available to them, making voting more accessible for all. A new voting mechanism shouldn't disenfranchise voters; it should empower them, and this legislation does just that."

The idea behind VIVA NY is that voters need to vote however they feel comfortable, and for many people that is still with a pen and paper. Says Andrea Miller, Executive Director of Center for Common Ground, "The most consistent voters in every state are voters over 65. These voters are the least "tech comfortable" in the country who often have trouble with cell phones."

Some of the new all-touchscreen systems are estimated to be twice as expensive as other voting machines on the market. One new all-touchscreen system seeking approval for use in New York is the ExpressVote XL. The New York Times estimates it will cost $10,000 per machine. Other ballot markers on the market sell for around $4,000.

The lobbying relationships affecting VIVA NY are particularly blatant. The two dominant voting machine companies in the state, ES&S and Dominion Voting Systems, both have lobbyists, or members of lobbying firms that are deeply embedded in the Democratic Political Party. Keith Wright is both the Director of Strategic Planning for the ES&S lobbyist, and the Chair of the Manhattan Democratic Party. His firm formally opposed VIVA NY, Stanley Schlein (https://www.cityandstateny.com/power-lists/2023/06/2023-bronx-power-100/386984/) is both the lobbyist for Dominion and considered "the de facto boss (https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/03/16/this-bronx-democratic-boss-still-commands-respect-and-cash/)" of the Bronx Democratic Party. In the latter position he has particular influence with the New York Speaker Carl Heastie, who is from the Bronx. according to sources in the legislature. "Taxpayers will pick up the tab for overpriced voting machines. That money flows to the machine vendors and then back  to the lobbyists," says Lulu Friesdat, Founder and Executive Director of SMART Legislation. "That these conflicting relationships are tolerated is unethical and needs to be addressed."

Says, Andrea Miller, "Can you imagine New York where it can take 5 or 6 hours just to vote? It isn't a pleasant thought. The last thing New York voters need is an expensive problem that destroys the solution."

Center for Common Ground
Smart Elections
Source: » Follow
Tags:Voting Rights, Communities Of Color, Voting Machines
Location:Albany - New York - United States
Account Email Address Verified     Account Phone Number Verified     Disclaimer     Report Abuse

Like PRLog?
Click to Share