Re: SF Chronicle today: Voting machine gets LinuxWorld tryout

From: Dylan Hirsch-Shell <dylanhs_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Aug 04 2008 - 15:26:09 CDT

I just dugg the story under "Political News." Please take a moment to digg
it and tell your friends to do the same:
http://digg.com/politics/Mock_election_at_LinuxWorld_will_use_open_source_vote_system

On Sat, Aug 2, 2008 at 5:37 AM, Alan Dechert <dechert@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/02/BUFD1224UC.DTL
>
> Voting machine gets LinuxWorld tryout
>
> Deborah Gage, Chronicle Staff Writer
>
> Saturday, August 2, 2008
> [image: Designers say this voting machine is more reliable than o...]<http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2008/08/02/BUFD1224UC.DTL&o=0&type=printable>
>
> Like many people, Alan Dechert was outraged when the 2000 presidential
> election was thrown to the Supreme Court because nobody could figure out how
> Florida's voters had voted.
>
> An engineer who has designed and tested software for a living, he thinks
> the outcomes of elections should never be in doubt.
>
> So Dechert and a couple of colleagues founded the Open Voting Consortium, a
> nonprofit group dedicated to delivering "trustable and open voting systems."
> In addition to lobbying against proprietary voting machines, they have spent
> the last several years working with scientists and engineers around the
> world to design and build a voting machine of their own.
>
> On Tuesday their machine will be put to the test at LinuxWorld in San
> Francisco, where the 10,000 people who are expected to attend the conference
> will get to vote in a mock presidential election pitting Barack Obama
> against John McCain.
>
> "The voting system in the U.S. is still not sufficiently accurate to
> determine the winner in a very close election," said Dechert, who has worked
> at Borland International and Intel developing and testing software. "By the
> time we're done (with the mock election), nobody will have any doubt."
>
> The LinuxWorld conference is held every year in San Francisco to discuss
> open-source software - software whose code is designed and maintained by
> volunteers. The conference takes its name from Linux, a computer operating
> system designed by Linus Torvalds in the 1990s that has a passionate
> following. It competes against Microsoft Windows and has spawned software
> for numerous devices, including voting machines.
>
> Open-source software is free for anyone to use, although licensing
> restrictions apply - changes to the code, for example, usually need to be
> given back to the community. The code that runs this voting machine is based
> on the work of a former Berkeley student, Ka-Ping Yee, who now works at
> Google.
>
> At a price of about $400, the new voting machine is a tenth of the cost of
> proprietary machines - less if made in quantity, Dechert said - because it's
> simply designed and based on free software. Its workings are transparent, he
> said, unlike some of the electronic voting machines that California
> decertified for security problems.
>
> People who attend the conference will vote by scanning a bar code on their
> badges, then selecting a candidate from a computer screen. When they're
> done, they will print their ballots, which will include their bar codes. A
> separate machine can scan the bar codes and read their votes back to them if
> they choose.
>
> Votes can be audited in several ways - by manually counting the ballots,
> scanning the bar codes, or processing pictures of the ballots to see if the
> text on each ballot matches its bar code.
>
> The voting machine is not yet ready to be used in a real election, although
> it could be certified by 2010, Dechert said. San Francisco's Department of
> Elections has met with the consortium and may form an open-source task
> force, a spokeswoman said.
>
> San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly has agreed to attend a demonstration,
> and the consortium is talking with a large California county about the
> machine.
>
> Meanwhile, the results of the mock election will be announced at the
> conference on Thursday after the polls close at 3:30 p.m.
>
> Conference organizers are also accepting donations of used computers. The
> machines will be refurbished, loaded with open-source software, and donated
> to local schools.
>
> *E-mail Deborah Gage at dgage@sfchronicle.com.*
>
> http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/02/BUFD1224UC.DTL
>
> This article appeared on page *C - 1* of the San Francisco Chronicle
>
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Received on Sun Aug 31 23:17:03 2008

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