AM Cruz, Disability and Vote Rights Groups Urge NYSBOE to Reject ExpressVote XL

Deliver 1000s of petitions pushing BOE to reject the machine

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ALBANY, NY (02/24/2020) (readMedia)-- Today, ahead of the New York State Board of Elections accessibility demonstration of the ExpressVote XL, Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, Common Cause/NY and Disability Rights New York joined together to oppose the Express Vote XL -- a touch screen voting machine that poses challenges for voters with disabilities, and has been widely criticized by election security experts. Common Cause/NY also dropped off thousands of petitions from New Yorkers across the state against the machine.

The NYSBOE is currently in the final stages before it does, or does not, certify the new voting machine. ES&S, a voting machine company that makes the ExpressVote XL, has spent over $600,000 lobbying New York state officials.

"Disability and voting security experts have universally panned the ExpressVote XL -- it's time the New York State Board of Elections does too," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY. "New Yorkers need voting machines that work for everyone, not ones that are wasteful, insecure and deeply flawed. New York State Board of Elections: reject the ExpressVote XL."

The ExpressVote XL is particularly troublesome for voters with disabilities because:

  • The audio read back feature does not play back the content of a write-in so voters who are hard of hearing will be unable to confirm their vote. Additionally, the feature does not indicate the political party associated with the candidate.
  • The keyboard can be hard to navigate for people with low vision or blindness.
  • The font and format on the printed ballot is not easy to read.

"All qualified people in New York State have a right to vote in every election. Therefore, before any voting machine is certified for use, it must be verified as accessible and secure," said Tim Clune, DRNY Executive Director.

Common Cause released a report called "The ExpressVote XL: Bad for New York's Elections." Common Cause argues New York should not purchase the ExpressVote XL because it is:

  • Vulnerable to cyber attacks and hardware malfunctions
    • ExpressVote XL machines do not leave a secure paper trail, making results easier to hack. According to a recent study, only 40% of voters reviewed their ballot for accuracy after submission and only about 7% informed a poll worker if something was wrong. The study concludes that a hacker could easily change the results of 1% or 2% of votes without anyone noticing.
    • The 14 states that use ballot-marking devices have begun to phase them out.
    • Touchscreens malfunction and can cause long lines for voters. For example, in Pennsylvania, roughly 30% of the machines allowed voters to select only some candidates' names, and not others.
  • Prone to undercounting votes
    • In a race in Pennsylvania, a candidate was recorded as having 164 votes on election night, but after a manual recount the same candidate had over 26,000 votes, winning the race.
  • Expensive
    • The ExpressVote XL costs roughly $8,250 per unit. This is far more expensive than other voting machines. Additionally, it will cost more money to store and transport the machines.