My statement for the EAC

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Jul 27 2005 - 11:01:54 CDT

I'm already up against the 3-minute limit. So, it will tough to add
anything. Let me know what you think.

I am Alan Dechert, President of the Open Voting Consortium. We applaud
legislators in Illinois who recently passed a bill, HB 1968, that says

     "All test plans, test results, documentation, and other records
used to
     plan, execute, and record the results of the testing and
     including all material prepared or used by independent testing
     authorities or other third parties, shall be made part of the
     record and shall be freely available via the Internet and paper
     to anyone."

We are encouraging law makers in other states to adopt similar measures.
We want to see all the test cases that have been run and the results of
each test case. That way, we can see if things were done correctly.

The Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, or VVSG, takes care to protect
the intellectual property rights of vendors. Election audit procedures
are weak. Transparency takes a back seat.

The trade secrets you are protecting have no value. Using computers to
count things is a technology that is well understood. Novel solutions
are neither needed nor desirable. Let's standardize the technology and
let vendors compete based on the services they provide. We need to know
that voters are presented with choices in a clear and accurate manner.
We need to know that voters' choices get recorded correctly and counted
accurately. This is not rocket science. Let's not make the technology
more complicated than it needs to be. Wireless devices and other overly
high-tech approaches should be eliminated. Transparency should be
valued over speed and convenience.

The VVSG does not appear to take the malicious insider threat seriously.
Nevada's Gaming Control Board tests slot machines more rigorously than
the government tests voting machines. Yet, the malicious insider threat
persists, and insiders have successfully rigged slot machines.
Paperless voting is practically an embossed invitation to rig elections.

Scientists, engineers, and faculty members associated with our Open
Voting project have demonstrated a prototype of an inexpensive,
accessible, electronic ballot printer utilizing free open source
software. This architecture should be encouraged in the VVSG.

The EAC should consider the contributions Australians have made toward
fair and efficient election administration over the past 150 years. We
may have more to learn from them. They have pioneered the use of
commodity multi-use PCs and open source software in elections. The VVSG
should allow for this possible model.

With the Help America Vote Act, the federal government has assigned
itself more power. Will that power be used wisely? The early returns
are not encouraging. Billions have been squandered on new devices.
Purchase decisions have been political. Very little has been invested
in scientific research. Why?

In summary, we want to see the EAC value transparency in election
administration. Please accommodate, and even encourage public
disclosure of all aspects of election administration. Invest in
Research and Development with our country's great university system.

Alan Dechert
President, Open Voting Consortium
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746
The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is a non-profit organization dedicated
to the development, maintenance, and delivery of open voting systems for
use in public elections.

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Received on Sun Jul 31 23:17:20 2005

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