Hand Counting of ballots

Curious about hand counting of ballots? These folks have been using this process forever  New Hampshire Hand count process


23 June 2019

To The Editor
The Times Journal

Over a decade ago New York State was engaged in contentious debate over what type of voting machine would replace the old lever actuated devices. The debate was making news in Schoharie County as well.

Many Schoharie citizens, myself among them, were advocating for voter marked paper ballots because they would provide greater resistance to tampering. We vigorously opposed the electronic machines (computers) being promoted by machine manufacturers and favored by the election officials. We argued against such devices because of the potential for malicious tampering difficult to discover or defend against. When the dust settled, New York State adopted voter-marked paper ballots with compromises to allow electronic devices to assist less-able voters to mark their ballots, and scanners to count the ballots.

Today the devices we allowed into the polling place back then are approaching the end of their service life and the voting machine manufacturers are hawking their latest and greatest stuff again. They refer to these new machines as “hybrid” because they combine multiple functions in one device, ballot scanning and ballot marking assistance for voters needing such help. They are offering a ballot scanner compromised by the addition of an on board Ballot Marking Device computer. In other words, the machine will have the capability to create a ballot which is not hand-marked and which the voter might not have carefully examined.

Our election officials are accepting these machines and the Schoharie County Board of Elections has requested appropriation of $34,000 for the first year lease of 24 Dominion ImageCast Evolution hybrid voting machines, a product with security vulnerabilities identified by New York State Board of Elections testing.

Schoharie citizens should visit to learn more about the Dominion machine. Then they should tell their Town Supervisor to reject these insecure machines in favor of a better process.

We do not need these machines. Other states and many other nations hand count their paper ballots. There is no reason Schoharie County could not do the same. The $34,000 could easily provide the training and employment of our citizens to manage the task of counting ballots. This communal activity would provide the bonus benefits of increased community cohesion and appreciation of our democracy.

For more about voting, voting machines, hand-marked paper ballots and citizen engagement in the manual counting of ballots visit: .

Wayne Stinson
Summit, NY


Board of Elections: P.O. Box 99, Schoharie, NY 12157
Clifford C. Hay, Commissioner
Kenneth J. Schweigard, Commissioner
Sara Davies-Griffin, Deputy Commissioner
Rich Shultes, Deputy Commissioner

Information Technology Services P.O. Box 541, Schoharie, NY 12157
Scott Haverly, Director

Board of Supervisors:

Conesville Town Supervisor William A. Federice

Blenheim Town Supervisor Don Airey

Carlisle Town Supervisor John H. Leavitt via

Jefferson Town Supervisor Margaret Hait

Richmondville Town Supervisor Richard T. Lape

Seward Town Supervisor John S. Bates, Jr.

Town of Summit Supervisor Harold Vroman

Broome Town Supervisor Stephen Weinhofer

Cobleskill Town Supervisor Leo T. McAllister

Esperance Town Supervisor Earl VanWormer III

Gilboa Town Supervisor Anthony T. Van Glad

Middleburgh Town Supervisor Gerald (Pete) Coppolo Sr.

Schoharie Town Supervisor Alan Tavenner

Sharon Town Supervisor Sandra L. Manko via Clerk

Wright Town Supervisor Alex Luniewski via Clerk


22 June 2019 (email)

Deputy Commissioner Davies-Griffin,

My comments at the Board of Supervisors meeting seemed to have upset you, that's regrettable because that certainly was not my intent.

I am a long-time critic of our election system and the various machines we have employed for voting. It might be helpful for me to explain further my distrust of voting machines and the companies that manufacture them.

We live in a society where practically anything is or can be commodified. There will always be someone selling something and someone buying the product. The product can be material, services or influence. If a voting system or process has a flaw there will be someone interested in exploiting it.

Mr. Tweed should be understood as an early investor: "I don't care who does the electing as long as I get to do the nominating" and "As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?" We actually owe Boss Tweed a debt for the present partisan-assured-mutual-distrust system we have in New York today.

Who might want to exploit a voting machine flaw? Machine manufacturers for the dollars, partisans for the obvious reasons, corporations for their favored political candidate and foreign powers for whatever their reasons might be.

My purpose in addressing the BOS Friday was to alert them concerning the flaws which have been identified in the Dominion ICE machine. Flaws which the NY BOE is aware of but apparently decided to certify the machine regardless.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or additional thoughts concerning this issue,

Wayne Stinson

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