From Garland Favarito
There will be a Senate Ethics Committee Meeting on Thursday February 22, 2018 at 3:00pm in Room 307 CLOB to hear SB403.
There will also be a House Governmental Affairs Committee Meeting on Wednesday February 21, 2018 at 2:00pm in Room 406 CLOB apparently to hear HB848 however the bill number has not been published. If HB848 is not being heard we will meet at Room 406 and then lobby the Senators concerning SB403 in advance of Thursday’s meeting.
No legislation is needed to replace our current unverifiable voting system with optical scan equipment. Local and national election integrity advocates have decided to oppose these bills unless some of the changes that we have recommended weeks ago are incorporated. The bills have nearly identical language that was expected to be good because they required the secretary to begin process to replace our current unverifiable voting equipment. However, both bills require the current Secretary of State to immediately initiate a bid process without gathering county requirements, cyber security recommendations or public input. They require a fixed bid statewide contract for a single vendor without evaluating advantages and disadvantages of decentralized equipment and processes. Theyy also require the current Secretary of State to negotiate terms of the contract before he leaves office at the end of the year. The new Secretary of State, who takes office in January, is then left to implement the voting machines although the new Secretary of State had nothing to do with the negotiations and selection of the equipment. In addition, the bills dropped the language in HB680 to properly define a ballot so the under the new bills the Secretary of State can acquire ballot marking devices that produce unverifiable bar codes which are scanned and tabulated instead of the votes that the voter marked. For these reasons and many more we OPPOSE these bills at this time and need to escalate our lobbying efforts. Please try to attend these sessions if possible.