Re: Prerendering of GUI for voting machines

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Dec 03 2007 - 13:49:30 CST

Arthur,

>
> This combination of messages confirms that Fred suggested that the
> demo use a single pre-rendered ballot. ...
>
Okay.

> Until then, the discussion
> seems to assume that the screen image of the ballot was dynamically
> created based on a ballot definition file. ...
>
More than "seems to." We were definitely working in that direction. See
Anand's post here:

http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/November.2003/0119.html

Turns out, Anand was having trouble with wxpython and this approach started
to look unworkable. Fred had the right idea at the right time.

> An early explicit example
> of that thinking can be found here:
> http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/August.2003/0073.html
>
Yes. I note that I talked about "pixel for pixel control" after reading
about Pygame -- which is what we ended up using and what Ping used for his
demo.

[.....]

It's fun to read some of this old stuff. I have a few comments on the email
below. I wanted to use evacs but found it really wasn't open source. The
code they had published wasn't usable -- it was purposely crippled so that
no one could do what we were trying to do. That kid that started the
open-vote.org project found out the same thing a year or two later.

The smash the DRE idea sideshow was there back then. We put on a different
side show at our APR 1 demo -- it wasn't that well executed, but it all
worked out fine. Jim March got on the local televsion news saying he
thought voting systems should use open source software.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg7WP3Tgmig

Our demo did "get some publicity -- including television." It was much
better to smash an actual DRE and that was successful too as a standalone
side show, even though that part only came several years later.
http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/blog/2007-nov-19/smash_diebold

Isis-Technology backed out of the project, and maybe that was wise for them.
We were asking them to make some investment in OVC and they were afraid it
would take a long time to recoup their investment. Of course, maybe that
prophecy was a bit self-fulfilling.

I now think the idea of commodity PCs in every voting booth is too tough to
sell. If we're going to see a computerized voting machine (touch screen
electronic ballot printer) in every voting booth, it's likely to be an
election-dedicated hardware design. Commodity hardware might be okay for a
precinct based optical scan system (like OVS proposes).
>
> 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
>
>
Yeah, let me know, asap.

Alan D.

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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:03 2007

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