Nevada Voters Forum

From: Lou Montulli <lou_at_montulli_dot_org>
Date: Fri Dec 05 2003 - 15:23:39 CST
Last night I attended an electronic voting forum for the state of Nevada.  The forum was attended by only about 100 people but was carried live on the local CBS affiliate and had a reasonable audience.

I learned several things at this forum:
  1.  The general public distrusts electronic voting.
    1. I heard this over and over again, every single person who spoke wanted a voter verifiable paper trail
    2. They are very concerned about the electronic security of the machines
  2. The states have a lot of money coming to them from the federal government and do not seem to be too worried about the costs
  3. The state and county want to buy in the near term.
  4. Only one vendor (at this forum) had a paper printer and it hasn't yet been certified.
I spoke toward the end of the forum and reiterated the need for a voter verified paper trail,  I explained that voter verification was a form of quality assurance that helped prevent machine errors or fraud from occurring.  I also suggested that this was only half the equation.  If there was no consistent means to check the paper trail against the electronic record then the system was no more secure.   Currently no vendor has an electronic reading component for their paper system.

I went on to say that Nevada should lead the nation by passing more stringent certification procedures.  Nevada has a unique resource in the Nevada Gaming Commission.  They have been certifying software systems for the slot machine industry for many years and have developed very stringent requirements.  I suggested that Nevada use this resource to find better ways to certify elections software.

Lastly, I told the group about the OpenVotingConsortium.  I told them that there was a goal to great an open source software solution and that it could reduce the cost of the machines to around $1000 or less.

The audience and panel were very excited about this news.  There were several rounds of applause and then many, many people came and spoke to me after the fact.    That evening I set an appointment to meet with the Secretary of State and his staff.  I will post details on that meeting later.

Overall, I have to say it was a very good meeting and underscores the need for this group to exist.
There may be some ways that OVC could help the process in the shorter term by coming up with ways that existing vendors could improve their systems.  For instance. 
================================================================== = The content of this message, with the exception of any external = quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain ================================================================== Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:05 2003

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