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How New Yorkers Can Audit Voting Station Results in the NY Primary

Updated on April 19, 2016


New York is one of the states which provides a clear path for auditing election results, including in primaries. Minnesota-based Citizens for Election Integrity USA has compiled a summary of how NY election law works, and how citizens can demand that the totals on optical scan ballot machines are matched to a hand count of the votes on the paper ballots inserted, in any precinct where irregularities are suspected such as wide disparities in exit poll data.

Even without a request from citizens, NY law requires that three percent of "voting machines or systems" be audited through a "random, manual process."

Section 9-211 of the NY election law provides that:

within seven days after every primary or village election conducted by the board of elections, the board of elections or a bipartisan committee appointed by such board shall manually audit the voter verifiable audit records from three percent of voting machines or systems within the jurisdiction of such board. Voting machines or systems shall be selected for audit through a random, manual process. At least five days prior to the time fixed for such selection process, the board of elections shall send notice by first class mail to each candidate, political party and independent body entitled to have had watchers present at the polls in any election district in such board’s jurisdiction.

Beyond the mandated "three percent" rule, a judge may order additional voting machines to be audited. According to the NY election law in Section 16-113:

The supreme court, by a justice within the judicial district, or the county court, by a county judge within his or her county, in a special proceeding by any candidate or his or her agent, may direct a manual audit of the voter verifiable audit records applicable to any candidate running for office within such judicial district or county where...discrepancies between manual audit tallies and voting machines or systems tallies ...requires a further voter verifiable record audit of additional voting machines...or...where evidence presented to the court otherwise indicates that there is a likelihood of a material discrepancy between such manual audit tally and such voting machine or system tally...which creates a substantial possibility that the winner of the election as reflected in the voting machine or system tally could change if a voter verifiable record audit...were conducted.

In September 2010 New York completed phasing out lever machines for a combination of ballot marking devices and optical scan machines. Optical scanners are the systems in which you color in a circle on a paper ballot with a marker provided to indicate the candidate of your choice. The paper ballot is then fed through the machine which "reads" what you marked and adds it to a vote total.

The paper ballots inside the locked machine contain the true totals. The totals arrived at by the machine, however, can be changed by various means and devices, so that the totals sent to the central elections computer is not what is in the box. A video showing how easily one type of optical scan machine can be hacked is below.

Citizens for Election Integrity described the "staged escalation protocol" for paper trail audits to be expanded beyond the three percent automatically mandated by law. From the website:

At each stage, the audited is expanded if discrepancies of a certain magnitude are found:

Stage One: The first initial sample is audited again.
Stage Two: An additional 5% of machines are audited.
Stage Three: An additional 12% of machines are audited.
Stage Four: If discrepancies of a certain magnitude still exist after the additional 12% audit, “each county board shall manually count all voter verifiable paper audit trail records from all the remaining unaudited machines and systems where the contest appeared on the ballot.”

The state regulations also clearly empower any board of elections to conduct an audit if they believe one to be needed. See 6210.18(h).

Sanders Voters Now Expect Clinton Cheating

As the NY primary approaches, Sanders voters are well-aware of this primary season's contentious history, in which Clinton forces and loyalists in state election apparatuses have repeatedly been caught clearly violating the law. Numerous lawsuits are proceeding in states such as Massachusetts, Arizona, and New York even before the primary. Placing the issues before the courts before a primary takes place shields the plaintiffs from "sore loser" portrayals, if specific problems are pointed out before the vote.

In the below video, Clinton supporters wearing blue "I'm with her" t-shirts can be seen marching past election officials without registering, which is mandatory, in the key "First in the West" Nevada caucus. A woman can be heard saying loudly "Go into the caucus right now without registering..." whereupon a man can be heard shushing her and saying "Don't yell it." When a man challenges their entrance, an election official can be heard saying "They'll register later." The large Las Vegas strip primary location offset a strong showing by Bernie Sanders in more rural parts of NV, and handed Clinton a slim victory.

Also in NV, a hidden camera which recorded proceedings of Clinton campaign workers in a registration drive caught a Las Vegas attorney, Christina Guapana, saying of the required neutrality in voter registration drives: "Whatever you can get away with, just do it." (Video by Project Veritas Action below.)

In MA, lawsuit has been filed against Bill Clinton for campaigning inside polling places, and within 150 feet of a polling place with a bullhorn, all specifically against MA law. The Clinton entourage is also alleged to have blocked many Bernie Sanders voters from voting in some polling locations, as a result of Clinton's security detail and precautions.

Photo of Clinton in polling station in Newton, MA during voting hours.
Photo of Clinton in polling station in Newton, MA during voting hours.

In MA, exit polls indicated Sanders to be the winner of the primary until late in the day, when a statistically improbably influx of Clinton exit polls were turned in after the final totals had been announced, declaring Clinton the winner. A blogger-analyst wrote:

Sanders led the Unadjusted MA Exit Poll Gender (1297 respondents) by 52.3-45.7%. The poll was captured from CNN at 8:01pm. Clinton led the adjusted exit poll (1406 respondents) by 50.3-48.7%, a near-exact match to the 1.4% RECORDED vote margin. But her 50.3% share was IMPOSSIBLE. The proof is self-explanatory: How could Clinton gain 114 respondents and Sanders just 7 among the final 109 exit poll respondents?

New York Sanders supporters have been advised to do headcounts at polling stations to make sure the total number of votes reported out of a polling place matches the number of voters recorded entering the building. New Yorkers are already filing a lawsuit over missing or incorrect voter registrations which would prevent them from voting in the primary.


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      2 years ago

      Nice to know, but coming on the primary day, not helpful.


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