Re: Need change to to help NIST comment ALSO Meet ups

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Tue Apr 05 2005 - 13:41:55 CDT

On Apr 5, 2005 8:53 AM, Edmund R. Kennedy <> wrote:
> Hello Folks:
> While we're at it, where' the link to the OVC Wiki?
> That's chock full of scholarly resources and
> definitions. Yes, the quality is uneven but it is a
> good resource.
The Wiki is still here, but it's being moved:

The site was free for a year but now they want us to pay.
They're asking way too much compared to what's available elsewhere.
So, we're going to let that go.

I've asked Laird and Chito to archive the information there. I will
check to see that it has been done. We'll move it to our new site as
soon as we can.

> =======================================
> Also, because no one has responded to make back
> channel requests, I'm having my first OVC San Diego
> meet up tomorrow and I have several questions:
> 1. What should I talk about and not talk about?
> 2. I recall in the summary business plan something
> about collection $1/head/meeting at meet ups? Is this
> the case?
> 3. I've never even been at a meet up let alone
> organized one, what are the protocols? Am I the
> chairman of a meeting? Who pays? Are decisions by
> majority or consensus assuming a small group? Do you
> use an agenda? etc. etc.
I don't know that we're calling the organizer "chairman" but in the
sense that you will be running the meeting, yes, you are acting as
chair. However, meetups are not-so-formal.

While the meetings are informal, it's good to have some plan for the
meetings. Here are some general guidelines.

1) Getting to know you: In the early going, you'll spend quite a bit
of time on this since attendees won't know very much about OVC and you
won't know much about them. At the first meeting, go around and have
everyone introduce themselves. Then the organizer should introduce
OVC -- spend some time on what we've done, what we're doing, and what
we plan to do. They will have lots of questions. You should be able
to answer most questions but feel free to say, "let me look into that
and I'll answer that for you later." In the first meeting, you may
not have a lot of time to do much else. However, you don't want all
the time in the first meeting taken by this activity. You want to
move on to action planning and logistics. As your group progresses,
you'll spend less time on Getting to Know You. I think it's a good
idea to spend some time each meeting with introductions of new people
or visitors.

2) A written agenda may not be necessary to start. As your group
grows and figures out what it's doing, you will want a written agenda.
 Having said that, you may want to have an agenda written out every
time including the first meeting. You'll look like a more organized
organizer and attendees will get the impression that we're organized.

3) Money: most organizers have not been comfortable collecting dues
right away. You should make dues a topic of discussion in the first
meeting -- whether you collect dues or not. Let people tell you if
they think it sounds reasonable. There is overhead involved in
organizing meetups and this should be recognized. OVC would like $1
per person per meeting plus the organizer should also charge a dollar
or so (this could vary depending on the overhead involved for the
organizer -- photocopying, making CDs/DVDs, etc.). Dues of $2 per
month is pretty reasonable. Dues should also be discussed along with
discussion of OVC supporting membership ($10 per month). Tell them,
"I'm an OVC supporting member at $10 per month because ....." Mention
that some supporting members buy more than one subscription and/or
make additional contributions of time and money. If you're meeting at
a coffee shop, pub, restaurant, etc., where people may purchase
food/drinks, the normal mode is dutch (you pay for what you consume).

4) DVD: you should have a copy of the OVC DVD. Ideally, you'd have
several copies that you could pass out at the meeting -- encourage
people to pass around the DVD to other people they know. Due to
limited resources, I can't make bunches of copies and mail them out.
I can give instructions on downloading the files for the DVD so that
people with burners can make some. Right now, the DVD is about 3.5
minutes. We are accumulating some film so the DVD may be added to in
the future. It's still pretty effective as-is. If the meetup
organizer has access to a laptop with a DVD player, it would be nice
to play it at the meeting. If your group grows to a point where you
use a large room (e.g., union hall) for the meeting, you may have the
facility to play DVDs on a large monitor or projector.

5) Purpose: The overall purpose of your meetup group is to help move
America toward open voting (refer to Mann paper for definition of
"open voting system").

To that end, the sub-purpose of the group is to support the work of
the Open Voting Consortium, whose vision and mission are as follows:

Vision (from bylaws)
Our vision is a world in which voting systems are inexpensive, readily
available, reliable, easy to use, accessible, universal, transparent,
auditable, and produce verifiable election results.


The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is a non-profit organization
dedicated to the development, maintenance, and delivery of open voting
systems for use in public elections.

With these high level concepts in mind, what about the local meetup
group? There are several things we want to see them do.

a) Gather information to populate our "election rules database." This
database will ultimately document all rules and procedures in use
(official and/or unofficial) for conducting elections in the U.S. We
want to know everything there is to know about how elections happen in
your area. We want you to gather the information and enter it into
our online database (under construction). We are in the process of
constructing questionnaires for various categories of people involved
-- including voters. We want to collect existing documentation as
well as create our own. Can you get a copy of a binder that your ROV
uses as reference? How about copies of manuals for equipment used?

b) Educate ourselves and others about specific measures for improving
the voting system we use. This effort integrates with (a) above but
includes outreach activities.

c) Letter writing and phoning to push for specific outcomes. We are
doing these things now and your group can join this work immediately.
Mostly, these letters and phone calls will be from constituents to
govenment officials calling on them to support things the OVC wants.
We can provide templates and scripts. Please ask.

d) Organize and/or participate in OVC events -- or events in which OVC
is participating in conjuction with other organizations. OVC has done

- Rally on Capitol steps
- Teach-in
- Demo
- Fundraiser

We haven't done any protests but I wouldn't rule that out. If some
govenment official says something disparaging about open voting, we
may want to get some people to walk around with placards and hand out
literature, etc. 50 people doing that will bring out TV cameras.

6) Networking with other groups: Identify other groups in your area
that have an interest in voting modernization. Take care to approach
people of all political affiliations. Obvious choices include DFA,
NAACP, and voting reform groups (see
for a list). But we want to go to conservative organizations too. I
am attending a Townhall meetup tonight. Tomorrow night I will be
making a 10 minute presentation at the Sacramento for Democracy meetup
(the previous meeting I attended was at a union hall and had around 70
people in attendance). I am meeting the organizers for lunch on

7) Give the latest inside scoop on what's happening with the OVC.
We're doing a lot of things -- not always evident reading the web site
or forums. There are some things we don't necessarily want to publish
at this point but we would like people to start talking about and
taking some action. You need to talk to me or others "in the know"
for details.

8) Group decisions are by consensus, but keep in mind you're going
there with an agenda and you want to get people to do certain things.
Not everyone is going to buy everything you have to say. If you say,
"let's all write letters to so-and-so," and some people don't want to
do that, so what? You follow up with the willing and get as many
letters written as you can. Be willing to take some risks. There is
a chicken-and-egg issue organizing events. If you decide to organize
an event outside of the meetup, maybe it won't look like you'll have
enough people to pull it off. But if you try to do it, you'll have a
reason to get more people involved. In other words, if you don't need
people for the event, you won't get them. If you try to do something
involving lots of people, you'll have a reason for involving lots of
people and you'll get some. So far, it's been typical that we get
fewer people for events than we'd like to have -- it's getting better.
 As the OVC grows in reputation, it becomes easier to attract new
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Received on Sat Apr 30 23:17:02 2005

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