CA voting bill we're drafting

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Thu Jan 19 2006 - 14:29:49 CST

I have been asked by CA Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg's office (legislator
that carried ACR 242) to provide language for an "open source" bill.

On Dec 17, several OVC people met to discuss what should go into the bill.
We are behind schedule and have missed a couple of deadlines (in order to be
considered this year, we need to have language by next week -- has to go to
legislative counsel and then committee to get started) I don't want to miss
anymore deadlines. I am committed to delivering language by close of
business Monday Jan 23rd.

Since I can see there are some real differences of opinion on what the bill
should say, I plan to have at least one version of the bill ready, but if
someone else wants to take charge of another version, I say "go for it." If
people here come up with another version they like better, we will give
Goldberg's office both (or several) versions and let them decide which on to

In any case, we know that the language we deliver will not be the last word.
So, don't sweat the details too much.

I will be the editor of "version A" of the bill. Anyone that wants to
declare their own competing version, go right ahead.

Here are some ideas typed up to start with. Probably we need something
resembling this structure: Purpose and Definitions followed by the meat of
the bill.

So, please start feeding your ideas/comments for
discussion/inclusion/rejection etc.

Alan D.

**** From Karl Auerbach

Here's my very bad draft and notes-to-myself. I don't like what I've put
together so far.

The California Trust In Voting Act
(voter's bill of rights?)
  1. Purpose: The People of California declare:
(a) Every registered voter in California who casts his or her vote in
a public election has a right to have that vote accurately recorded and
(b) Every citizen of California has the right to vote in elections
that use machines and methods that can be trusted to accurately record and
count votes.
  2. Definitions
(a) Public Election
(b) Contest
(c) Voting System - Any computerized machinery used in a Public
Election to present one or more Contests to voters, to obtain voter
choices, to verify voter choices, to store voter choices, to communicate
voter choices, to tabulate voter choices, or to present partial or full
results of one or more contests.
(d) Vendor: Any person, partnership, corporation, or other entity that
offers a Voting System, whether for money or not, to the State of
California, to any county or city of the State of California, or to any
agency [of the state, city, county]
(e) Disclosed Source
(f) Inspection of Disclosed Source
(g) Certification of voting systems
  3. Any person, partnership, corporation, or other entity that offers
a Voting System to the State of California or any county, city, or to any
State, county, or city agency shall allow representatives of the State,
county, city, or agency to fully inspect and test the Voting System in its
(a) The representatives may create and retain test materials, test
data, evaluations, and conclusions and may communicate the same to other
representatives of the State, county, city, or agency.
  i. The Vendor may require reasonable notice of such tests and may
require that the tests be performed in a matter that does not burden the
vendor with significant costs beyond those of making the Voting System
  ii. The Vendor may require that the State, county, city, or agency
enter into a binding non-disclosure agreement to protect the vendor's
Federally registered copyright and trade secret rights in the Voting
  iii. Such non-disclosure agreement may extend for as long as the
underlying Federally registered and trade secret rights remain viable.
However, such non-disclosure agreement shall terminate upon the first sale
or lease of the Voting System to the State or to any county, city, or
agency within the State. Upon termination all materials created or
retained by the testers/inspectors may be openly and freely published and
  iv. For the duration of any non-disclosure agreement and for a period
of 24 months thereafter the State of California and all counties, cities,
and agencies shall not acquire, lease, or use any Voting System from any
vendor, corporation, partnership, or individual who has employed,
contracted with, or otherwise given any thing of value to any person who
actually received any materials protected by the non-disclosure agreement
during the term of the agreement.
  4. The purchase, lease, or other acquisition agreement between a
Vendor the State of California, any county, any city, or any agency
thereof with respect to a Voting System shall have an implied or express
provision granting:
(a) To any and all residents of the State of California the right to
inspect and test such Voting System, to retain test materials, test
results, and to freely publish the same openly.
  i. Residents of the State of California are to be considered as third
party beneficiaries and the courts of California shall have jurisdiction
to allow such residents the right to enforce these rights.
(b) The Vendor shall promise to refrain from exerting any copyright,
trade secret, or other rights that it may have to hinder any resident of
the State from exercising the right to inspect, test, and publish.
(f) The offeror [need better term] may require reasonable notice of
the inspection and testing.
(g) The offeror may
  5. stuff to do.
(a) No Voting System, or component of a Voting System, has been
(b) Availability of Voting Systems and Disclosed Source (this happens
upon submission for certification.)
  i. When, on what terms, ...obligation to publish results?
  ii. Disclosed source is free, box in which it runs is not.
(c) Process of Certification
  i. How to deal with specious claims
  ii. Certification applies only to exact code versions (what about
compiler versions, etc?)
(d) Challenges to Certification
(e) Inspection of voting software....
  i. of what
  ii. by whom
  iii. Right to use entire machine into which the Disclosed Software is
  iv. what about exerted proprietary rights by vendors
  v. publishing results
  vi. third party rights? (e.g. Transfer to third parties.)
(f) Certification
  i. counties may join together

1. How much of the system should be inspected? The black box, the
voting specific/custom code, every line of source down to the BIOS?
2. What do we do about hardware?
3. Distinction between open source for reducing cost vs open source
for reasons of trust.
4. Any right of vendors/voting-officials to have advance notice of
5. How do we guarantee that there is no substitution of materials.
6. Should there be a period of time between proposed for use and
certification for use.
7. Definition of APIs, formats
8. Preference for inspect ability using human senses?
9. Level of documentation and vendor testing
10. Open sale to any third party/citizens so that they may test,
availability of updates/maintanence.
11. Audit of contests/races, not ballots, trigger conditions, amount
of auditing, publication of results
12. Chains of custody, of machines, of voting materials, of
ballots/paper summary ballots, of software, ....
13. Posting of results... in precinct, voting machine failures,....on
web.... level of detail that must be made available. Spoiled
ballot/process-error by machine serial number,
14. Recounts
15. Preservation/archiving of voting systems, voting records
16. Too many audits trigger recertification?
17. Periodic recertification?
18. Random retesting of machines?
19. Permanent serial number on each machine.
20. Periodic review of certification (re-certification versus
21. Absentee/early ballot, provisional ballot
22. Open/Closing procedures, logic and accuracy testing.
23. Public disclosure of machine "failure" rates.
24. "Voting reliability"
25. How to deal with machine failure in mid-voting, where voter flees
or switches to another machine.
26. Exception log, visible to public, made known to voter at time of

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Received on Mon Jan 8 20:24:33 2007

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