Online voting coming to Washington DC in Sept

From: <SomeThoughts_at_aol_dot_com>
Date: Tue Jun 22 2010 - 17:56:58 CDT

This means that CO, GA, DC, WV, and AZ will be doing pilot projects
this fall, and the list keeps on growing.
Details about the Pilot Program
    * Public Preview of the service during the month of August.
    * The DC BOEE will encourage technical experts to stress test the
pilot solution, in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the privacy and
security mechanisms and processes.
    * The pilot program for the September primary election will include
digitally transporting ballots for up to 2,500 citizens and service men and
women stationed overseas.
D.C. launches test of open-source online voting

Washington, D.C., will let overseas voters cast ballots online using
open-source, standards-based software, not the closed, proprietary mechanisms
that have dominated electronic voting throughout its _troubled history in the
United States_
( .
_Open Source Digital Voting Foundation_ ( , a Palo
Alto, Calif., developer of _election software_
( is providing the District's new system. Company
representatives explained in a conference call with the D.C. _Board of
Elections and Ethics_ ( how _this absentee-voting option_
echnology) will work.
Starting with September's primary election, D.C. citizens serving overseas
in the military and others posted far out of town won't have to choose
between voting secretly but slowly by mailing in a paper ballot or voting
quickly, but with no guarantee of secrecy, by submitting a ballot by fax or
(Voters living in the District will continue to use closed-source,
proprietary hardware, although the _next batch of machines_
( [PDF] will generate a paper record, visible to the
voter, confirming that that the machine registered the ballot accurately.)
Instead, after applying to vote online--using the same kinds of forms
required to obtain an absentee ballot today--overseas voters will receive a
one-time personal identification number. They'll use the PIN to log on to an
encrypted site hosted by the District, on which they will fill out a PDF form
 and submit that under two forms of encryption--one to confirm the
integrity of the ballot, a second to attest that it was completed by the holder of
the PIN.
Voters will be able to check online to see that their ballot (or, for the
first time this year, their mailed-in form) was received. The Board of
Elections and Ethics will confirm receipt of the ballot and then discard the
identifying information attached to the ballot itself.
Rokey W. Suleman,, executive director of the board, called the process
"completely auditable, completely transparent."
That's a sweeping claim to make. But with an open-source system--in which
anybody can inspect the program's instructions, as in such widely used
programs as the Firefox Web browser--we won't have to take his word for it once
OSDV posts that source code on its site this summer.
This is an overdue step for electronic voting. It may also be the only hope
 left for electronic voting, considering the woeful history of closed,
proprietary systems that on good days merely confuse voters with _badly
designed interfaces_
( and on bad days lose votes for mysterious
reasons (as _happened in the District in the 2008 primary_
( ).
But first, other jurisdictions will have to show some interest in
open-source voting. Anybody want to make a prediction on that?
By Rob Pegoraro | June 22, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
Categories: _Digital culture_
( , _Policy and politics_

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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:02 2010

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