Draft of Annoucement about EVM

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Wed Aug 06 2003 - 12:29:49 CDT

This is a draft. Please give me your comments ASAP since I plan to send
this out tomorrow at the latest -- maybe even today.

It will go to my list of elections people around the country (county and
state), legislators and their staff members (state and federal), county
supervisors, academics interested in voting issues, and people in the media
that have written on voting modernization issues.

It may or may not result in some newspaper articles, but it will certainly
set us up for some media coverage when we have the demo running.

Silicon Valley Computer Scientists Team Up to Demonstrate Free Voting

Scientists and engineers from the Silicon Valley have started a project
aimed at developing a PC based voting machine they claim will be better and
cheaper than commercially available voting machines.

Computerized voting offers many advantages over traditional systems,

- The ability to easily handle multiple languages,
- Meeting the needs of voters with disabilities,
- And eliminating problems such as overvoting and other voter intent issues.

PCs that are four to five years old have more than enough power to make
great voting machines and the exist in great abundance. More than 25
million such PCs are retired annually in the United States alone. Less than
10 percent of these discarded PCs would be needed for all the voting booths
in the U.S.

The concept has already been demonstrated in Australia where, in 2001, the
Australian Capital Territory government commissioned the development of open
source software to run on trailing-edge PCs set up in polling places as
voting machines.

The project, known as EVM, includes participants from around the United
States as well as a few developers from overseas. EVM will differ from the
Australian system in several ways. Most importantly, the machine will
include a printer from which a completed paper ballot will be produced. It
will work with either a touch screen or a regular monitor and mouse.

The project developer, Alan Dechert, got EVM going with help from Stanford
computer scientist David Dill, who referred several people to him. Arthur
Keller, a UC Santa Cruz computer science professor, recruited a former
student of his, Adrianne Yu Wang of San Jose, to be the Project Lead. Along
with Ed Cherlin of Cupertino and Jack Walther of Santa Cruz, they chose to
use the "Python" computer language for development of the demonstration
system. Douglas W. Jones, a University of Iowa computer science professor
and world-renowned expert on voting technology, is taking a very active role
as advisor and mentor.

Dr. David Mertz of Massachusetts, a well-known writer on computer
programming issues, has also taken a very active role. Other key people
include QA Lead Matt Shomphe of Los Angeles, and Lead Developer Anand Pillai
of Bangalore, India. Van Lindberg (Utah), Skip Montanaro (Illinois), Dennis
Paull (California), and Matteo Giacomazzi (Italy) are all contributing their
expertise to the project.

The EVM project is using the services offered at SourceForge.net, the
world's largest Open Source software development web site, to store source
code and documentation, track issues, and manage the project. The direct
URL for the project is at,


EVM project proponents hope that this successful demonstration project will
lead to a very large well-funded academic study that will capitalize on
other efforts to bring about a modern, reliable, and fully auditable voting

More background information can be found here:


The target for completion of the demonstration project is mid-October. If
successful and fully funded, certified ready-to-use software could be
available in about a year.

-- Alan Dechert

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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:01 2003

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