OVC's free/open-source voting software

From: Jason White <jason_at_jasonjgw_dot_net>
Date: Wed Dec 10 2008 - 22:49:09 CST

Hello all,

I am new to the list, and may ask questions that have been answered before. If
so, references to relevant URLs would suffice as answers. I have read the FAQ
and browsed recent list archives.

The source code available in release files at SourceForge dates from 2003 and
2004. Is there a public repository of the latest source code for this project,
or is it included in the ISO images available at the Web site? Are there more
recent design documents or papers available?

I like the design outlined in the FAQ. Obviously, much depends on the details.
I am particularly interested in the accessibility-related aspects of the
software, having used several electronic voting systems via speech output at
State and Federal levels here in Australia, none of which, regrettably, used
free and open-source software.

As in your proposal, the systems in use here printed ballots as bar codes on
completion of the voting process. However, it was impossible for the voter to
verify the correctness of the information printed - an optional final step of
scanning the bar code and reading out the selections made, would have been
useful, even if only a small minority of voters were to take advantage of it.

Another difficulty with present systems (apart from the lack of access to
source code) is that they can't be used by people who are deaf-blind, despite
the availability of braille display hardware, which could be set up at
specialist polling places. (Obviously, the expense of the hardware would make
it impracticable to deploy braille-equipped machines generally). There is also
excellent braille display software for Linux, namely BRLTTY, which it should
be possible to integrate into any free/open-source, Linux-based, solution as
an option.

>From your Web site, clearly this is a U.S.-based project. It would also be
interesting to know whether the electoral systems used in other countries are
being taken into account in the design and development of the code, for
example, systems of proportional representation, which are common here and in
Europe. Preferential voting and proportional representation are ubiquitous in
Australia. Obviously, it would be a desirable feature of the software in a
voting terminal that it should disallow invalid votes; thus it becomes a
question of designing the software to make it easy to accommodate different
election systems without requiring the security and correctness of the entire
code base to be reassessed after making such changes. Presumably, the vote
counting software would be similarly modularized so that the algorithm for
computing the election results could be easily verified and substituted as
required.

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Received on Wed Dec 31 23:17:05 2008

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