The 800 pound gorilla of software development has moved forcefully into New York State, supported by voting machine vendors using Microsoft Windows in their touch screen voting machines and other systems. Over the last two months Microsoft and a cadre of high paid lobbyists have been working a full-court press in Albany in an attempt to bring about a serious weakening of New York State election law. This back door effort by private corporations to weaken public protections is about to bear fruit.
On Thursday, June 14, I recieved a copy of proposed changes to New York State Election Law drafted by Microsoft attorneys [PDF] that has been circulating among the Legislature. These changes would gut the source code escrow and review provisions provided in our current law, which were fought for and won by election integrity activists around the state and adopted by the Legislature in June 2005.
The players promoting this behind the scenes are relying on the fact that this reprehensible eradication of citizen protections won't be noticed until it's too late. If Microsoft and the vendor lobbyists had their way, the public would have known nothing about this until after the law passed.Up to now, New York State has been rightfully proud to have adopted some of the strictest regulations regarding the new electronic voting systems in the entire nation. The Legislature has been patting themselves on the back for two years now for passing such an excellent set of laws. For the most part, they had a right to be proud. But now these powerful private companies are working the Legislature behind the scenes trying to quietly change New York Election Law to remove the public’s protections and to serve their private interests.