Why NH works - lessons learned?!

From: David RR Webber \(XML\) <"David>
Date: Mon Feb 19 2007 - 09:28:33 CST
Nancy,
 
Thanks for sharing the NH experiences and link:
 
> kit, you can download it or ask me to send you a print version.
>http://www.democracyfornewhampshire.com/node/view/2606
>
As I read this I could hear "It's NOT about the machines stupid!" - very loud and clear.
 
What I learned in studying the EU work around OASIS EML - was that the voters bill of rights and the formal open and transparent process are the key.  If you have all that - who needs machines?!?!  After all "wet-ware" remains the finest computers we have.
 
Now - here in the USA - we are lucky that despite all the concerns - we still have an open society - especially compared to those where I believe people and democracy needs the most help.  Zimbabwe is one that concerns me most - North Korea would be another.  In their contexts could having a trusted voting system run by machines that remove the issues of trust, access and privacy result in a more open and fair election?  Especially if run under the auspices of the UN?  I'd like to think so - and that in the future election openness - will be tied to international support - rather than troops and airstrikes being used to determine who supports the best interests of the people.
 
Fortunately the free-thinking people of NH clearly need little help from the UN to throw off the yoke of a dictatorship - just yet! Now if someone was to discover oil in NH that might all change! ; -)
 
So the lesson learned here - apart from the obvious - if it ain't broke don't fix it - is that underlying the NH experience is those same core voter rights and open process guarantees - whether those are provided by machines or humans - are in place.  Problem is not everywhere is able to make those claims - and due vigilance is always needed.  Fact is none of this is news - its being going on for hundreds and thousands of years - and there are perfectly "legal" and approved ways of influencing election outcomes - none of which have anything to do with the counting of votes!  Again Zimbabwe is a sad point in case there.
 
Bottom line is that societies need better ways of ensuring equitable and open elections.  I do believe that the work we are doing on both the human and machine sides of this - is helping advance the state of the art here - and especially the OASIS EML and EU work.  Making it all about the machines however is a major problem - as the flawed HAVA process has so amply demonstrated.
 
Hopefully we are now reacing a point where the ability of the machine vendors to dictate and control and block access to the process is ending - and we can move forward to open public standards and open transparent implementations - as NH seem to have already figured out!
 
Thanks, DW

"The way to be is to do" - Confucius (551-472 B.C.)

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Received on Wed Feb 28 23:17:21 2007

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