Re: Prerendering of GUI for voting machines

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Mon Dec 03 2007 - 07:04:33 CST

At 10:49 AM -0800 11/30/07, Fred McLain wrote:
>Yes, the pre-rendering was my crazy idea. At the time I got involved
>the development team was stuck trying to make some wxpython widgets
>that would allow for display of a nearly exact rendering of the
>approved ballot format. There were several reasons to go with an
>image map that were discussed on the development list at that time.
>
>1. An exact match of the approved ballot format
>2. An easy way to show proposed ballots to or receive them from,
>elections officials (print the image out).
>3. Simplified code. The widget and rendering code was going to be the
>majority of the code
>4. A design to function match. The touch screen is really an image &
>event intersection issue, much like a video game. In fact we did our
>implementation by finding a great python video game designer (John
>Paul out of Canada) to do the implementation in PyGame.
>
>Backing the image was a simple coordinate descriptor file. This makes
>code verification much simpler. Once the engine is verified it is
>only a matter of verifying the image(s) coordinate mapping file(s).

In perusing the OVC-demo-team archive (hosted by David Mertz on
python-hosting.com), the day after Fred became development lead in
February 2004, he said:

For this release we do not
need to be able to accommodate all possible ballots, just the sample.
It's located here:

http://evm2003.sourceforge.net/ballot-mockup3.gif

See http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/OVC-Demo/0092.html

This message quoted Fred's earlier message, where he said:

* The display needs to be as simple as possible and yet accurately
representing the ballot in an approved form. A simple graphic (e.g. PNG)
fits these requirements.

See http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/OVC-Demo/0090.html

Back in August 2003, Alan Dechert said:

Okay. But remember: we need pixel for pixel control over the screen.

We need to be able to replicate this:

http://home.earthlink.net/~adechert/ballot-mockup3.gif

See http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/August.2003/0069.html

------

This combination of messages confirms that Fred suggested that the
demo use a single pre-rendered ballot. Until then, the discussion
seems to assume that the screen image of the ballot was dynamically
created based on a ballot definition file. An early explicit example
of that thinking can be found here:
http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/August.2003/0073.html

There certainly is archeological value (and prior art value for
invalidating "bad" patents) in having design discussions for open
source software available in a public forum. Was our project the
originator of that idea? Here's Alan Dechert's call for having all
the discussions in public:
http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/initial-digests/0148.html

It looks though that the initial digests occasionally got garbled. I
have all the original messages in an archive (it's a Eudora mailbox
file for the Macintosh). (I'd be happy to supply these to David
Mertz if he wants to post them, possibly replacing the "initial
digests.") This includes messages that predated the list, including
these that led to the creation of a "demo or prototype":

Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 13:42:37 -0700
To: adechert at earthlink.net
From: Arthur Keller <arthur at kellers.org>
Subject: Better voting machines
Cc: Arthur Keller <arthur at kellers.org>

I'm interested in helping. I teach part-time at UCSC and can get
students there to work on such a project as independent study
projects. David Dill referred me to you. Thanks.

Arthur

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
-------------
From: "Alan Dechert" <adechert at earthlink.net>
To: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
Cc: "Douglas W. Jones" <jones at cs.uiowa.edu>
Subject: Re: Better voting machines
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 14:23:05 -0700
Thanks for writing, Arthur.  Right now we're focusing on getting some
funding.  Let's stay in touch.
Alan Dechert  916-791-0456
----- Original Message -----
From: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
To: <adechert at earthlink.net>
Cc: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 1:42 PM
Subject: Better voting machines
>  I'm interested in helping.  I teach part-time at UCSC and can get
>  students there to work on such a project as independent study
>  projects.  David Dill referred me to you.  Thanks.
>
>  Arthur
>  --
>  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
>  Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
>  tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
----------------------------
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 15:30:49 -0700
To: "Alan Dechert" <adechert at earthlink.net>
From: Arthur Keller <arthur at kellers.org>
Subject: Re: Better voting machines
Cc: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>,
    "Douglas W. Jones" <jones at cs.uiowa.edu>
Alan, I'm happy to help raise money.  How much do you think you need, 
and what will it be used for?
I do think it might be worthwhile putting together a demo or a 
prototype in parallel with the funding effort.  I can get some 
students to do that if we can put together some sort of 
specification.  You'll probably need a spec in order to get funding 
anyway.
I have students who can start over the summer and are free.
Best regards,
Arthur
At 2:23 PM -0700 7/3/03, Alan Dechert wrote:
Thanks for writing, Arthur.  Right now we're focusing on getting some
funding.  Let's stay in touch.
Alan Dechert  916-791-0456
----- Original Message -----
From: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
To: <adechert at earthlink.net>
Cc: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 1:42 PM
Subject: Better voting machines
  I'm interested in helping.  I teach part-time at UCSC and can get
  students there to work on such a project as independent study
  projects.  David Dill referred me to you.  Thanks.
  Arthur
  --
  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
  Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
  tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
--
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
-----and------
From: "Alan Dechert" <adechert at earthlink.net>
To: "Jay" <jay at isis-technology.com>
Cc: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
Subject: Fw: Better voting machines
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2003 10:28:42 -0700
Greetings Jay!
I have a request, and a possible opportunity for you.  Would you consider
donating a few systems (3 or 4) for a demo?
Professor Keller wants to put some students on the project right away.  For
our demo, we plan to replicate what the Australians have done here:
http://www.softimp.com.au/evacs.html
Then we'll modify it to include a printer.
Once we have the demo put together, we'll have a press conference.  The jist
of the press conference will be something like this:  Santa Clara County
just signed a $20 million contract to purchase touch screen paperless voting
machines (around $4,000 ea.  ~ 3,100 + 900 for warranty and maintenance).
Here's a system they can get for a fraction of the price -- and it's better!
It includes a voter-verified paper trail.  World renowned Stanford computer
scientist Professor Dill will be there touting the voter-verified paper
trail that he has been advocating.  For dramatic effect (have to think about
this) maybe we'll have a paperless touch screen system there (probably a
mock up made from a broken lap top PC) that we'll smash with a hammer.
Anyway, this should get some publicity -- including television.
I could probably find a PC remarketer in Silicon Valley to donate the
equipment but I thought you might want to participate.  Somewhere in the
press release we'd note who donated the equipment.  It might be good to have
the participation of Isis-Technology noted from the beginning.
Here's what we would want to have:
3 or 4 (industrial grade) working PCs (350 MHz or better) including 17in
monitor.  At least 2 of them must have CD burners (the other 1 or 2 should
have CD ROMS anyway).  No software is needed.  Modems are not required but 1
or 2 modems would be fine.  In other words, we don't really care about the
modems but if they already have them then don't bother to remove them -- we
might be able to use the modems.  They should have 1.4 floppy and a hard
drive (any size HD).  NICs would be a plus.  Please include keyboards and
mice.  Please also include 2 laser printers -- HP 5L or equivalent
(something that could be had on eBay for $45 or less).
If you have a good looking but non-functioning lap top computer that you
want to throw in (for our smash-it publicity stunt), that would be great.
Let me know asap.
Alan Dechert 916-791-0456
----- Original Message -----
From: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
To: "Alan Dechert" <adechert at earthlink.net>
Cc: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>; "Douglas W. Jones"
<jones at cs.uiowa.edu>
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 3:30 PM
Subject: Re: Better voting machines
>  Alan, I'm happy to help raise money.  How much do you think you need,
>  and what will it be used for?
>
>  I do think it might be worthwhile putting together a demo or a
>  prototype in parallel with the funding effort.  I can get some
>  students to do that if we can put together some sort of
>  specification.  You'll probably need a spec in order to get funding
>  anyway.
>
>  I have students who can start over the summer and are free.
>
>  Best regards,
>  Arthur
>
>  At 2:23 PM -0700 7/3/03, Alan Dechert wrote:
>  >Thanks for writing, Arthur.  Right now we're focusing on getting some
>  >funding.  Let's stay in touch.
>  >
>  >Alan Dechert  916-791-0456
>  >
>  >
>  >----- Original Message -----
>  >From: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
>  >To: <adechert at earthlink.net>
>  >Cc: "Arthur Keller" <arthur at kellers.org>
>  >Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 1:42 PM
>  >Subject: Better voting machines
>  >
>  >
>  >>  I'm interested in helping.  I teach part-time at UCSC and can get
>  >>  students there to work on such a project as independent study
>  >>  projects.  David Dill referred me to you.  Thanks.
>  >>
>  >>  Arthur
>  >>  --
>
>   -------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
>  >-----
>  >>  Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
>  >>  tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
>
>
>  --
>  --------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----
>  Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
>  tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
-- 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:03 2007

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