Re: No e-voting deal without software details

From: Nancy Tobi <ntobi_at_democracyfornewhampshire_dot_com>
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 12:00:16 CST

Saw this yesterday and posted to our site, with credit to OVC in our
headline (which is not, unfortunately in this article!).

Great work OVC. You have reserved yourselves a place among the blessed.

Nancy

On 2/16/07, Alan Dechert <dechert@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
> http://www.examiner.com:80/a-566744~The_City_may_require_e_voting_disclosure.html?cid=rss-San_Francisco
>
> No e-voting deal without software details
> Before The City agrees to use Sequoia Systems' electronic ballot scanner
> and
> counter, officials want more details about its software.
>
> Joshua Sabatini, The Examiner
> Feb 15, 2007
>
> SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco could become one of the first cities to
> require an electronic voting company to disclose the details of its
> software
> in an effort to ensure all votes are counted.
>
> Electronic voting machines have stirred controversy as voter-rights
> activists say the machines cannot be trusted, especially since the
> software
> used to tally votes is kept secret.
>
> More than 20 voter-rights advocates turned out at a Board of Supervisors
> Budget and Finance Committee hearing Wednesday to oppose the proposed
> $12.6
> million four-year contract with Sequoia Voting Systems Inc.
>
> Under the contract, The City would receive 610 optical scan voting
> machines
> (machines that read a paper ballot) and 610 touch-screen voter machines,
> intended for use only by the disabled.
>
> "This system is going to be a paper-based system. It's not going to be an
> electronic-based system. The voters aren't going to see any difference at
> all," said John Arntz, the city's elections director.
>
> Supervisor Chris Daly, chairman of the committee, postponed the vote on
> the
> contract until next week, putting pressure on Sequoia to agree to an
> unprecedented commitment to disclose its software details.
>
> "I'm not prepared to move forward with this contract language without some
> public disclosure of your technology within the contract," Daly said.
> "We're
> willing to discuss this," said Steven Bennett, representing Sequoia.
> Voting
> machine companies have kept their software private citing proprietary
> reasons.
>
> Voter-rights advocates say that without a disclosure of the technology the
> public cannot trust that the machines are correctly counting the votes.
>
> Arntz hopes to have the contract finalized in short order to prepare for
> the
> upcoming November election.
>
> The existing voting machines are old and have posed problems in previous
> elections. In the most recent election, 35 percent of voting precincts
> required technical assistance, Arntz said. Built into the contract with
> Sequoia are penalties if the machines fail. For example, if just 10
> percent
> of the machines break down on Election Day, the company would have to pay
> The City $150,000. "They have the incentive to make sure things run
> right,"
> Arntz said.
>
>
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>

-- 
Nancy Tobi, Chair
Democracy for New Hampshire
DFNH Fair Elections Committee
PO Box 717 | Concord, NH 03301
www.DemocracyForNewHampshire.com

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:20 2007

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