Independence Day Message from OVC

From: Alan Dechert <dechert_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jul 05 2008 - 05:24:59 CDT

This message went to our announcements list, and I am posting it here in
case any of you did not receive it. And, I'll say thanks again to John-Paul
and FOSS Factory for the leadership pledge.


Dear Friends of Open Voting:

[Please pass this message to others. A copy is also on our web site at ]

Adopted 232 years ago today, we all know something about the Declaration of
Independence. It's worth looking at it again. How many of us really know
what it says? What is the purpose of government, according to this

Sure, it says we will be independent from British rule and it explains the
philosophy and reasoning behind the action. Overall, it says that
we-the-people run things. We can decide for ourselves. We have the right
to alter the system of laws, or throw it out altogether and establish a new
one -- whatever makes sense to us. The basic concept is self-governance.

Some will say it was only an idea and that, in reality, it was and remains a
system created by the elite for the elite. It was a great idea, but the
implementation has been poor.

Today, we the people are mere consumers of whatever they are serving. We
are mesmerized by gadgetry, trained to believe we can't change things. They
will do what they want.

Like everything else, the voting system is controlled by large corporations.
Governments are the customers of the voting system vendors. They don't
consider you to be the customer because it's been forgotten -- or they never
embraced the idea -- that you are the government. This mentality is
pervasive and potentially catastrophic for us and the children.

The Declaration of Independence was a great idea. We may never achieve the
perfection described, but we can come much closer to it.

The voting system is only one arena where we the people need to assert
oversight and control. The open voting movement has made great progress.
Still, it's a struggle. People that care enough about these issues to lend
support are besieged to contribute by many worthy campaigns. Horrible
public policies implemented by elected officials -- elected with horrible
voting technology -- have devastated our economy. Gasoline prices have
nearly doubled since Election Day 2006. Our supporters are hurting, we are

OVC is now at a do-or-die moment. We have a great opportunity to show the
way to a public voting system at the Linux World conference, which starts
one month from today in San Francisco (AUG 4-7). We need to pull together
the resources to do this. We will have to expand our base of support
rapidly in the coming few weeks.

I think we can do it, but there is no guarantee. The odds are probably
against us.

Bottom line: to be successful, in parallel, we have to,
1) raise enough money to finish our system and get it certified
2) build our community to a size and strength that will give officials
confidence about who is taking responsibility for the software, and,
3) educate people in all our target communities

Our demonstration voting system at Linux World will help us meet all three
of these needs.

We need to raise $30,000 by August 4th. John-Paul Gignac, a programmer that
wrote voter interface code for our 2004 demo, started something called FOSS
Factory (FOSS stands for Free Open Source Software). He continues to work
for us and has now pledged $5,000 as matching funds for our fundraising
drive. I am still looking for a couple of people to make similar leadership
pledges. Until then, FOSS Factory will match the first $5,000 in
contributions dollar-for-dollar. The Okori Group, led by Brian Fox, is also
dedicating resources to the effort, including programming that will move OVC
technology a large step toward commercial viability.

OVC is still embryonic. We are designed to be membership based -- members
comprised of USERS of open voting technology and PROVIDERS of open voting
technology. Prospective members on the provider side include FOSS Factory
( ), The Okori Group
( ), and Open Voting Foundation
( -- all of which have already dedicated
resources to the effort. There are other potential providers that have
expressed interest in joining.

We are talking with many potential users (besides individual voters) of open
voting technology about joining OVC. We are excited by the prospects. Some
potential users we are in conversation with include some of the largest
jurisdictions in the US. There are also some small ones that have expressed
interest, and are very interesting to us as well. Specifically, some
jurisdictions -- cities conducting city elections -- don't need to have us
go through the certification process. So, these could be some of the first
organizations to join OVC on the user side.

OVC has fallen short in its fundraising drives one time too many. We are in
a hole and need to get out. At the same time, our expenses will be much
higher than ever as we plan to provide 17 voting booths (fully equipped with
OVC Electronic Ballot Printers) and other materials for our exhibit at Linux
World. $30,000 is a tall order -- far more than we have ever even attempted
to raise in one month.

We know what we need to do and we are doing it. Join us, if you haven't
done so already. Help spread the word to people you think might join the

Use your credit card (or PayPal acct) or send us a check!

There are several ways to donate money to our cause. The PayPal button on
our web site is probably the quickest and easiest.
This is the address for PayPal:

You may also use our Amazon account to contribute (best for small, up to
$50, anonymous contributions).

If by check, please send to:
Open Voting Consortium
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746

Contributions to OVC are not tax deductible, unless you can justify it as a
business expense. For example, FOSS Factory's contribution can probably be
written off as a business expense (talk to accountant if in doubt) --
membership dues.

Contributions to OPEN VOTING FOUNDATION may be tax deductible: Make your
check to our sponsor, "Software in the Public Interest" (or "SPI") and send
to my address. You can also make a tax deductible donation online at . (contributions via SPI cost us 5%). We can
also accept a check or wire transfer directly to Open Voting Foundation.

We need to raise $30,000 by AUG 4th -- we need most of this money sooner
than later. If you are making a larger contribution ($1,000 or more),
please consider making a wire transfer. Both Open Voting Consortium and
Open Voting Foundation bank with US Bank, routing number 121122676. The
account number for OVC is 1534 5394 7266. The OVF account number is 1534
5655 6874. The absolute lowest overhead and fastest way to contribute for
us would be to go to a US Bank branch and make a cash deposit to OVC (or

Thank you again for helping OVC to continue progressing toward the
establishment of OPEN VOTING. Don't hesitate to write or call if there is
anything you want to talk about. I'm on the phone a lot these days, so
leave a message if I don't answer.

Alan Dechert
President, Open Voting Consortium
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746

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Received on Thu Jul 31 23:17:02 2008

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