[OVC-discuss] version 2 of bill language draft

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Mon Jan 19 2009 - 16:08:50 CST

I took the recommendations of Jim Tobias and Jim March, and I added a bit
here and there, and edited a bit here and there.

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 flawed.
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 based on open source software.


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 license.

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

        (i) free redistribution,
        (ii) source code pulication,
        (iii) derived works must be allowed, usable in elections, subject
              to certification
        (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 is required by anyone distributing
              or altering the source work
        (viii)license must not be specific to a product,
        (ix) license must not restrict other software, and in elections
              it must be consistent with certification rules
        (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 and in an
              election, subject to certification rules supported by the
              California Secretary of State;
        (ii) freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to
              your needs, and in elections, subject to certification;
        (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. The secretary may reject applications for
       systems that seem overly complex, or seem inconsistent with the
       intent of existing state and federal requirements, or otherwise seem
       to the secretary to be unworthy of consideration.

   (f) The Secretary of State need not 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 exemption:

    (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 accessible to, usable by,
         and acceptable to voters with disabilities without requiring
         personal assistance or special workarounds;
    (iii) The system must accommodate multiple languages;
    (iv) The system must provide a method for verifying that software and
          hardware used for the voter interface and vote tabulation
          used in an election are versions that have been certified.

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Received on Thu Jan 7 00:09:45 2010

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