Re: [OVC-discuss] OVC's free/open-source voting software

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Dec 10 2008 - 23:48:41 CST

Thank you for joining the discussion, Jason. And thank you for your
thoughtful query. You have zeroed in on several key issues for us.

In 2003/2004 we experienced serious problems with Sourceforge and stopped
using it.

Our demonstration voting system underwent significant changes this year.
Thanks to the initiative of FOSS Factory and the Okori Group, we were able
to demonstrate a much improved system at LinuxWorld this summer. We had
planned to use FOSS Factory as a repository for the source code. The
current status of this could best be described by John-Paul Gignac and/or
Abdullah Bakhach of FOSS Factory and Brian Fox of the Okori Group. I look
forward to hearing a response from them.

I consider the bar code vocalization application to be a key part of our
system. I'm glad you appreciate that. We demonstrated this successfully in

We have also demonstrated that a reading impaired voter can listen to the
voice prompts and navigate through the ballot with a keypad and printout the
ballot. We have not added the braille capability, but we would like to do
that. I look forward to talking to you more about this. I'm am encouraged
to hear that you feel that the Linux-based BRLTTY works well.

I don't think it would be difficult to adapt our system for use in other
countries. Generally, US ballots are more complicated than other countries.
We have had a few inquiries from other countries over the years. We are in
a better position to respond to such queries in the future, and I think that
running an election -- if only a small one -- in another country would be an
important evolutionary step for OVC.

We will support whatever voting methods are in use.

Alan D.

> 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
> 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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