VVPAT, A discussion on mission

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Mon Feb 07 2005 - 21:54:38 CST

Hello All:

Is the VVPAT we're thinking about the same as the VVPAT everyone else is talking about? Let's stipulate that it stands for Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail. However, what is really meant by this? I've seen propositions about 'ballots under glass' with take up reel. (This begins to sound like some sort of gourmet dish by Salvador Dali with help from Dr. Seuss.) I've seen propositions about print outs that show the voter what they've chosen in an otherwise DRE driven situation but apparently aren't actually the true record of the vote. I've even seen vaguely receipt like propositions.

To me the only robust model for VVPAT is the generation of machine scanable or hand readable paper ballots with an electronic backup. To me, this is about is close as we can get to a good VVPAT system. Most of these other systems, seem to regard paper ballots as the weak link backup in the case of an unlikely disagreement. This probably has to do with the major vendor's kluge factor of tacking on a printer to an existing DRE system. Have any of these vendors agreed to go with actually publishing their software for review or do they think that software escrow is enough? What is the current situation?

Also, I do have a nagging distrust of optical ballot scanners because they end up writing their totals to a memory card that seems of much greater interest to election officials than the ever so old fashion paper tape that is also printed out at the closing of the polls. This is one of the reasons I've been following the Boulder, Colorado, Hart Intercivic story with such interest and sharing it with the rest of the group. On the other hand, I suppose this is a little less risky than tending to rely on the memory cards of some poorly converted DRE with a tacked on printer as the primary source of voter data. I suppose it boils down to risk analysis.

So, are we there yet? Has the big 4 come around to the OVC viewpoint? Have they 'gotten religion'? Or, should we maybe get back to work on developing our own certified open source software product?

What do other people think?

Thanks, Ed Kennedy
Always work for the common good.
10777 Bendigo Cove
San Diego, CA 92126-2510

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Received on Sun Feb 27 17:17:04 2005

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