Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders (front row, left to right) Freeholder Vice President Wayne Richardson, Freeholder Romaine Graham, Freeholder Tyshammie Cooper, Freeholder Patricia Sebold and Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill. (Second row, left to right) Freeholder Carlos Pomares, Freeholder Leonard Luciano, Freeholder Rufus Johnson and Freeholder Robert Mercado. PHOTO BY: GLEN FRIESON.
Supports Initiative of Freeholder President Brendan W. Gill
(Newark, NJ) – During the Tuesday, January 7, 2020, Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders Conference/Board Meeting, Freeholder President Gill, along with the entire Board, proudly passed a resolution approving the purchase of new voting machines. This action supports President Gill’s initiative outlined in a recent OpEd (“The Urgency of Protecting our Voting Process, Our Elections, and Our Democracy”). The purchase of these machines will ensure the integrity of future Essex County Elections by providing optical scanners and paper ballots guaranteeing a secure and safe process.
In the wake of allegations of voter tampering and in context of the 2016 election that many believed was high jacked; protective measures guarding the integrity of the voting process needed to be implemented. Additionally, further information supports the vulnerability that electronic voting machines may potentially compromise the voting process. Voting machines with paper ballots that are read by optical scanners are said to be the least vulnerable to a cyber-attack and offer a paper record that can be audited for further safeguarding. For the last year and a half, several voter advocacy groups including SOMA Action’s Voting Rights Committee and BlueWaveNJ, have come before the Board with their concerns and recommendations.
The passing of yesterday’s resolution to purchase new voting machines showed progress in the right direction. “Voting machines are the infrastructure of our democracy. The vote by the Freeholders on Tuesday evening was a victory for democracy. The SOMA Action Voter Rights Committee is gratified and encouraged, not only by the result, but also by the process by which it was achieved. Citizens advocated and educated; public officials listened and acted. This is the way democracy should work.,” said David Harris, Co-Chair of SOMA Action Voter Rights.
Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., won the $3,800,000.00 contract upon the recommendation of the Office of the Commissioner of Registration and Superintendent of Elections. “I wholeheartedly support Essex County purchasing voting machines that will employ the use of optical scanners and hand-written ballots to ensure the integrity of our voting process is protected.,” said Freeholder President Gill. The passing of this resolution confirms Essex County’s responsiveness and due diligence to ensure the integrity of the voting process going forward.
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For Additional Information:
Kathy R. Brown, Chief of Administrative Services
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
973-621-4489 (phone) 973-621-5696 (fax)