[OVC-discuss] draft of text for new OVC-sponsored bill

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jan 17 2009 - 14:15:40 CST

Previous OVC-sponsored bills were all started on the Assembly side. I have
recently spoken with some people on the Senate side and I plan to start the
bill there soon. This has to be very simple. It's clear from the
conversations I've had that the bill cannot cost any money or even look like
it might cost money. Basically, we're going to need the Secretary of State
to testify that she can do this and it won't cost anything (beyond existing
budgeted dollars). A big part of the sales job will be to show this will
save state and local government money.

If you have any feedback to give, give it soon. I'll try to turn it in to
our author late next week.

Existing law prohibits the Secretary of State from approving any voting
system or part of a voting system, unless it fulfills specified state law
requirements and regulations. Existing law also requires the secretary to
study and adopt regulations governing the use of voting machines, voting
devices, vote tabulating devices, and any software used for each.

Existing law also requires voting systems to pass voluntary federal
certification. However, federal certification has been found by the
Secretary of State to be inadequate, expensive, and procedurally incorrect.
Ultimately, higher certification costs are passed on to taxpayers. As a
result, few if any new voting systems have been certified in recent years.
Open source voting systems might be desirable, but since companies cannot
recoup millions of dollars in certification costs with license fees, there
are no open source systems available that have been federally certified.

This bill would permit the Secretary of State to bypass the federal
certification requirement in case the applicant presents a software system
for certification that is open source.


SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

   (a) The Secretary of State shall be permitted to waive the federal
certification requirement for voting systems based on open source software.

   (b) The vendor shall submit an application for examination fee waiver
including a sworn affidavit stating that the voting system software and
documentation are offered under an open source license or free software

   (c) The open source license shall meet with the Open Source definition
which requires,

       (i) free redistribution,
       (ii) source code,
       (iii) derived works,
       (iv) integrity of the author's source code,
       (v) no discrimination against persons or groups,
       (vi) no discrimination against fields of endeavor,
       (vii) distribution of license,
       (viii) license must not be specific to a product,
       (ix) license must not restrict other software,
       (x) license must be technology-neutral.

   (d) The free software license is a matter of liberty, not price, and
shall meet the following requirements:
       (i) freedom to run the program, for any purpose;
       (ii) freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your
       (iii) freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor;
       (iv) freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to
the public, so that the whole community benefits; and
       (v) freedom to access the source code is a precondition for these

   (e) The Secretary of State is not bound to certify any voting systems
under this provision

   (f) The Secretary of State does not need to certify a specific make or
model of hardware to be used with the open source software. Instead, the
system certification will describe a class of hardware with which the
software may be used.

   (g) In addition to the open source requirement, a system must meet the
following additional requirements in order to be considered for this

  (i) The voting system must include a durable paper ballot that can be
handled, stacked, and counted and re-counted by hand readily
  (ii) The voting system must be designed to be usable by voters with
disabilities without requiring special workarounds.
  (iii) The system must accommodate multiple languages

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Received on Thu Jan 7 00:09:45 2010

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