Re: Need change to openvoting.org to help NIST comment

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Tue Apr 05 2005 - 19:01:54 CDT

Here are my comments.

-Ron

----------------------------

Acceptance Testing: [draft text]. [new paragraph] A system that passes
all tests will not necessarily perform correctly on election day. In
particular, a system containing software that allows the manipulation
of the casting or counting of ballots may be programmed to perform that
manipulation only during an actual election, only when certain
candidates appear on the ballot, or only when a certain signal is
broadcast to the voting system via electromagnetic means such as
long-distance wireless ("WIMAX") or power-line broadband.

Association: security, human factors
Source: no attribution
[Rationale for change: Acceptance testing frequently is characterized
by the idea that "if it works during acceptance testing, it'll work
during the election." That is not, of course, true. The change
emphasizes acceptance testing's limitations with respect to security.]

Audit Trail for DRE: [replace "direct response electronic" with "direct
recording electronic".]

Ballot Instructions: [was: "Instructional text that appears at the top
of the ballot"]. Text describing the procedure for voting a ballot.

Counted Ballot: [was: "Ballot that has been processed and whose votes
are included in the candidate and measures vote totals.] A cast ballot
whose selections have been added to the respective totals for each
contest.

Cryptography: [draft text, but delete the final "or" and the period at
the end, and add:] , or establish their authenticity.

Error Correction Code: [was; "Coding system that incorporates extra
parity bits in order to detect errors"] A coding system that uses a
partially redundant representation of data to detect and/or correct
certain kinds of errors in data transmission or storage.

Firmware: [was: "Computer programs (software) stored in read-only
memory (ROM) devices embedded in the system and not capable of being
altered during system operation."] Software that provides basic system
operations, often (but not exclusively) related to the operation or
control of hardware devices. Firmware might, but need not be, contained
in a read-only memory (ROM) device, and it might be alterable during
ordinary system operations.

[Rationale for change: The previous definition was too narrow and
emphasized something that's often incorrect. Firmware is often loaded
or loadable from mass-storage devices, such as BIOS updates for PCs.
Firmware need not be contained in ROM, and might, depending upon the
system's design, be alterable at runtime.]

Fled Voter: [Why would a voter's incomplete ballot ever be "cast before
the voting equipment is reset"?]

Hash: [Replace the first sentence with:] An algorithm that maps a bit
string of arbitrary length to another bit string, usually shorter and
of fixed length.

[Rationale for change: Hashes are not necessarily fixed-length (e.g.
http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=966341 ).

Logic and Accuracy Testing: [draft text]. [new paragraph] A system that
passes all tests will not necessarily perform correctly on election
day. In particular, a system containing software that allows the
manipulation of the casting or counting of ballots may be programmed to
perform that manipulation only during an actual election, only when
certain candidates appear on the ballot, or only when a certain signal
is broadcast to the voting system via electromagnetic means such as
long-distance wireless ("WIMAX") or power-line broadband.

[Rationale for change: Same as for "Acceptance Testing", above.]

Nonvolatile Memory: [delete "Static RAM" from the list of "example of
nonvolatile memory" and replace with "Flash RAM"]

[Rational for change: Unlike Dynamic RAM (DRAM), static RAM (SRAM)
retains its contents without period refresh cycles. However, both forms
of RAM lose their contents when disconnected from power. Flash RAM is
nonvolatile, and has replaced ROMs, EPROMs, and EEPROMs in many (most?)
applications.

Privacy: [was: Voting system is said to provide privacy when it makes
it impossible for others to find out how the voter voted.] The degree
of protection that a voting system provides a voter against attempts to
learn how she voted.

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Received on Sat Apr 30 23:17:02 2005

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