Re: [OVC-discuss] OVC on HR 811

From: Greg Christopher <stork_at_electronify_dot_com>
Date: Fri Jul 13 2007 - 12:04:54 CDT

> David is correct on this point. I have voiced my displeasure with
> the bill,
> but OVC has not taken a position. More than one OVC supporter has
> voiced
> support for HR 811.
> When Brent and I visited Zoe Lofgren in April, we were there to
> promote open
> source for election software, and the general concept of open voting.
> Astonishingly, Congresswoman Lofgren (chair of House Admin sub-
> committee on
> elections) said they were not contemplating putting money in the
> bill for
> open source R&D because the federal government was doing that
> already with
> ACCURATE (this is false). The ACCURATE proposal may appear to
> support open
> source software development because it says they intend to work
> with OVC.
> So far, this has not happened. There is nothing in the ACCURATE
> proposal
> that says they will work on developing public software for public
> elections.
> The other astonishing thing Lofgren said was that the disclosure
> language
> was being amended to suit Microsoft since they would kill the bill
> otherwise.
> Without going into detail (this has been beaten to death in other
> forums ...
> I am happy to get into the details on OVC-discuss if people want to
> do that
> ... not sure how valuable that would be at this point), here are my
> two
> areas of concern.
> 1) The bill would bring about a significant shift in authority from
> states
> to the federal government with respect to election administration.
> The US
> Consititution gives the states the primary responsibility for running
> federal elections -- which I think is wise. I don't think it is
> wise to give
> so much authority to a commission with its four commissioners
> appointed by
> the president of the United States. I counted something like 40
> instances
> of "the commission" in the bill. When you add this up to see what
> "the
> commission" (the EAC) will be doing, it looks to me that they will be
> running things and they will at least have the potential to achieve
> near
> dictatorial power over the voting system.
> 2) The disclosure language is bad. This concern is minor compared
> to the
> concern mentioned above. The disclosure language was bad before it
> was
> amended, and now it is worse. It appears to legitimize secret
> processes in
> the voting system. It's not just that I favor open source for
> elections: I
> believe it is illegitimate to allow any part of this public process to
> remain secret. PFAW says 811 would end "secret software" in
> elections.
> This is a blatant lie. We already have disclosure to "qualified"
> individuals
> and groups. HR 811 would expand the universe of reviewers
> somewhat, but it
> is unclear what the new unpaid reviewers could contribute after
> signing the
> nondisclosure agreements. Having said this, if HR 811 should pass,
> this bad
> disclosure language would not necessarily be bad for the open
> voting cause.
> It would put the focus more clearly on state and local governments
> to make
> open voting a reality. In a sense, it would give us something to play
> against.

It would seem that 2) goes against what resolve to do as a group. Why
do we not decide to oppose this, or at least work with the
legislators to clean up 2)?


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Received on Tue Jul 31 23:17:04 2007

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