The evolution of pre-rendered ballots in EVM2003

From: David Mertz <david_dot_mertz_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Dec 08 2007 - 22:44:10 CST

The Open Voting Consortium's (OVC) EVM2003 project was developed as
an open source collaboration by programmers in several nations.
However, some of its focus was to demonstrate features tailored to
election systems and concerns specific to the United States. EVM2003
was a demonstration of the feasibility of what the EAC glossary
currently refers to as an "Electronic Ballot Printer". The source
code for EVM2003 can be found at <http://evm2003.sourceforge.net/>.

Design decisions and considerations in the development of EVM2003
were made primarily via mailing lists, and archives of this
discussion are available at <http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-
project/> (all such posts are released to the public domain, and may
be reproduced as wished)

And early post by Alan Dechert to that list (<http://gnosis.python-
hosting.com/voting-project/August.2003/0218.html>) describes the
initial design goals for EVM2003. On-screen ballot
pre-rendering was not one of the original design goals, but its
utility was realized during discussion, particularly in these posts
by Fred McLain: <http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/OVC-
Demo/0090.html>; <http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/OVC-
Demo/0092.html>. Voter-verifiable printed ballots contain a
simplified selection layout, and are mostly pre-rendered also, using
a postscript ballot template. The option of using such a postscript
ballot template was suggested by Jan Karrman at <http://gnosis.python-
hosting.com/voting-project/September.2003/0014.html>. This option
allows verification, with additional assistive technology, by blind,
otherwise disabled, and non-English speaking, voters without
compromise of their vote anonymity.

Architecturally, the EVM is coded using Python, with PyGame used for
onscreen ballot rendering. The overall architecture of EVM2003 was
published at Arthur M. Keller, Alan Dechert, Karl Auerbach, David
Mertz, Amy Pearl, and Joseph Lorenzo Hall, "A PC-Based Open-Source
Voting Machine with an Accessible Voter-Verifiable Paper Ballot,"
USENIX '05, FREENIX track, April 10-15, 2005, Anaheim, California.
See <http://infolab.stanford.edu/pub/keller/> for online copies of
this and related papers.

EVM2003 was publicly demonstrated in an April 1, 2004 press
conference. Among the articles written about the demo are <http://
www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/policy/2004/04/26/ovc.html> by John Adams of
O'Reilly; <http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/sjmerc0408.pdf>;
<http://www.dalelane.co.uk/cache/ovc_news4.htm>. Television coverage
included <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg7WP3Tgmig>. The GAO cited
the demonstration at <http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/gao-
p51.pdf>.

The commercial company Open Voting Solutions was created by OVC
supporters, after discussions with board members of OVC (see http://
openvotingsolutions.net/). Among other design goals set by OVC, Open
Voting Solutions uses ballot pre-rendering in their systems.

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Received on Mon Dec 31 23:17:05 2007

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