Re: Bev Harris Trashed OVC at the Houston Election Hearing

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Tue Jul 05 2005 - 12:58:28 CDT

On 7/4/05, Jim March <> wrote:
> Rather, it's a matter of speed - OVC can build a tabulator faster, one
> that can "eat" the paper output of most other existing systems and be in
> place in a short period of time...and wouldn't "get in the way of" later
> open-source precinct equipment by OVC or anybody else down the road.

Unfortunately, this isn't as easy as it may seem at first blush. One
of the options here in Alameda county was to ditch touchscreens
altogether and simply move to a Diebold precinct-count optical-scan
set up, with something like the Automark BMD serving the needs of our
disabled voters.

Unfortunately, the Automark has only been federally qualified as an
end-to-end "voting system" with the ES&S tabulators and their EMS
(Election Management System), not Diebold. In order to use a DRE
voting system in California, it has to be federally
qualified/certified and then state-certified.

This poses a large problem for anything OVC produces... there is no
"modular" certification. That is, you can't just get a ballot marking
device qualified/certified by itself... that is, to interoperate with
a number of proprietary tabulators and EMSs, a product would have to
be qualified/certified as and end-to-end system with each proprietary
subsystem to make an end-to-end system.

Now there's probably a way out here... for example, I think the
qualification/certification requirements here in CA apply only to DRE
voting systems, of which the Automark is not. However, you can see
that this makes the federal qualification/certification process a bit
more complex... which vendor's EMS and tabulators would you certify an
OVC BMD with? How would you qualify/certify a tabulator without an
EMS... who's would you use?

This seems to highlight that the OVC would probably do best to produce
an unqualified tabulator that was as close to the FEC/EAC regulations
as possible that jurisdictions could use to double-check their
certified equipment. When more of the pieces are there, OVC could
seek qualification with either proprietary subsystems or its own
end-to-end system.

back to work, Joe

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
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Received on Sun Jul 31 23:17:14 2005

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