Re: [OVC-discuss] Fw: [theMMOBlist] What has SoS Bowen been workingon?

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Feb 14 2009 - 13:20:55 CST

Nathan,

> Or perhaps we, the grassroots, will collaborate with private
> industry since waiting for government to save us has never
> actually worked...
>
This is quite a loaded statement. There is some truth to it, but it doesn't
get us far.

What you say would have made more sense in the 1970s, when purchasing a
voting system was a transaction between a private vendor and a local
government. Practically no one else was involved.

Over time, the relationship between customer and supplier has become more
and more political. We are at a point now where every level of government
is involved -- from the president of the U.S. (the federal Election
Assistance Commission serves at the pleasure of the president) on down.

Anyone expecting to have any success in this arena must have a good
understanding of the relationship between election officials (some elected,
some appointed), elected officials (all levels and all branches are
involved), the courts and the industry.

OVC has definitely NOT been "waiting for government to save us." We have
been prodding people at all levels of government -- city, county, state, and
federal -- to work with us to achieve a truly public voting system. In
parallel with these lobbying efforts (with some notable successes), we have
developed a great open source voting system -- not completely done, and not
certified, but great nonetheless.

Collaborating with private industry is something we must do and we are
doing. But anyone in industry, with half a brain functioning, comes to
realize the landmines out there.

For a large reputable company, it's not an attractive proposal. For the
prospect of adding (or losing, more likely) some small fraction of one
percent to their bottom line, they risk ruination of their reputation
because some idiot in the hinterlands trying to use their system screwed up
an election and blamed it on the vendor.

For a small company, for the privilege of investing a few millions of
dollars and a few years to get one certified, they can then go out and
market in 3,000 jurisdictions against entrenched interests -- where many
jurisdictions won't talk to them unless they have years of experience with
similar sized jurisdictions. This, too, is not an attractive proposition.

OVC is in a unique position and has a unique strategy. I firmly believe
that the consortium model is the correct one for establishing and
maintaining a truly open source voting system to the U.S. and the world. We
have taken many important strides and have more to be taken. We have to
roll with the punches, as we have done in the past. I am confident that if
we can keep going, we will be successful.

-- Alan D.

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Received on Sat Feb 28 23:17:04 2009

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