Re: Re: Observations on the new VVSG Guidelines

From: Ron Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Mon Jul 25 2005 - 14:22:37 CDT
Alan Dechert wrote:
Ron,

...
If thoroughly done, it would be expensive. .......

Of course it would be expensive. Is it expensive for
Nevada to rip gambling machines to shreds? Sure.  Is
it worth it? Are our votes worth more than our chips? ...

Good rhetoric, but the dynamics are too different to be very relevant.

The gaming industry spends the money to do this so they can make money. If people feel the machines are rigged in such a way that they don't have a fair chance of winning, they will stay away.  They won't spend the money: The gaming industry will lose money.

This equation doesn't exist with the voting system.  You don't get more paying customers by demonstrating that the voting system is legit.  You may get a higher turnout if people are confident their votes are correctly counted, but people in power don't necessarily want a higher turnout.
I understand that these dynamics don't exist with voting systems. But the fact remains that Nevada does a much better job of inspecting gambling machines than any jurisdiction does of inspecting voting machines. We should play up this irony, not only because it aligns perfectly with our push for open-source voting equipment, but because the nontechnical public will understand it. We must not understate the power of good rhetoric. Why do 40% of Americans still think Saddam was involved with 9/11? Rhetoric. It's so powerful it can manufacture reality. And it's even more powerful in the service of Truth. Let's use it.
Both the states and the federal government (should) be
overjoyed to pay for real voting security. .........

They should be overjoyed to pay for a lot of things.  However, there is tremendous competition for public funds.  We could argue about misplaced priorities and about how, for example, we could fund what we want by putting the money here instead of one B2 bomber.  Some voting rights (or was it "voting justice") activists do exactly that.  OVC can't do that and remain nonpartisan.  Furthermore, I don't think we have to spend more money to get a secure voting system.  Most of it has to do with procedures.

The kind of voting system we need/want/deserve will be better and cost less.  It will engage the "geeks of America" and everyone else instead of relatively few cloistered individuals whose main interest is the bottom line.

Democracy has to be affordable.
Yes. OVC should simultaneously make systems affordable, and push for stronger standards.
I think there should be more test labs qualified, but the nature of
the industry will probably limit the number to only a few. So, I
don't know how much value random assignment would have.
Yes, that's a problem. But why can't we (the people) organize
and fund a REAL test lab?  .......

Dick Johnson is talking about doing that -- an OpenTest lab....
Cool. But if the vendors are allowed to select their labs, it'll never get any business. Random assignment would help change that.

-R

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Received on Sun Jul 31 23:17:19 2005

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