RE: Re: SB 1438 letter... comments please...

From: Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp) <"Popkin,>
Date: Tue Jun 22 2004 - 23:17:50 CDT

This letter doesn't quite "connect the dots" for me. I'd suggest a more
gentle introduction, by leading with the key point, which (IMO) is that
given that the intent of SM 1438 is "To make sure, via statutory enactment,
that any voting system stores the 'official record' of an individual's vote
either on a paper ballot or, if not on paper, with an Accessible Voter
Verified Paper Audit Trail (AVVPAT).[6]", we're concerned that the proposed
modified definition of DRE's (1) conflicts with existing federal and state
definitions of the term, and (2) creates an internal contradiction in the
bill.

Then we can drill into all of the details in the letter.

Also, usually these sort of letters include a paragraph establishing that
the signers are terribly important, credible people, who have thought deeply
about this issue, so that the letter should be taken seriously. Perhaps we
should lead with something along those lines? (OK, less silly, but you get
the idea).

- LP

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-voting-project@afterburner.sonic.net
[mailto:owner-voting-project@afterburner.sonic.net]On Behalf Of Joseph
Lorenzo Hall
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 11:55 PM
To: voting-project@lists.sonic.net
Subject: [voting-project] Re: SB 1438 letter... comments please...

I guess I should include the actual text! -Joe

----
June 22, 2004
Senator Johnson (also: Perata, Murray)
California State Senate
State Capitol, Room 3063 (add Perata and Murray addresses)
Sacramento, CA 95814
## Re: Amendment to SB 1438 introduced incorrect, overbroad definition
Dear Senator Johnson (Perata, Murray),
We are writing on behalf of the Open Voting Consortium (??? , the
California Voter Foundation and Verified Voting ???) to oppose, in
part, the April 27, 2004 amendment to SB 1438. This amendment
eliminated the previous definition of a "Direct electronic voting
system"[1] to that of a "Direct recording electronic voting system"
(emphasis added):
(b) "Direct recording electronic voting system" means a voting system
_that includes, but is not limited to_, any of the following:
(1) A device or system that employs an electronic touchscreen upon
    which appear the names of candidates and ballot titles of measures
    that are to be voted on by touching the designated area on the
    screen.
(2) A device or system that employs an electronic screen upon which
    appear the names of candidates and ballot titles of measures that
    are to be voted on by pressing or otherwise activating a
    designated mechanism of the device.
(3) Any device or system that does not require or permit the voter to
    record his or her vote directly onto a tangible ballot.
The definition of a direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system
should not be this complex or inclusive. DREs are a certain class of
elections system with one essential characteristic: as recognized by
the Federal Elections Commission[2] and more recently by California
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley[3] the essential feature of any DRE
system which implicates auditability is the fact that the official
record of an individual's vote is stored on some sort of
electromechanical storage instead of on paper. This is the feature of
DREs that make them impossible to audit during or after an election.
Both the introduced and amended definitions have problems. Parts 1 and
2 of the first definition (see note 1) as well as parts 1 and 2 of the
second definition include features of voting systems that do not
implicate auditability at all.[4] Further, the first definition is
relatively narrow in scope as a system must meet all the listed
requirements to be considered a DRE while the second definition uses
"includes, but is not limited to" language which renders the
definition vague and would seem to improperly encompass systems which
are not strictly DREs.[5]
What is the essential need and intent for SB 1438? To make sure, via
statutory enactment, that any voting system stores the "official
record" of an individual's vote either on a paper ballot or, if not on
paper, with an Accessible Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
(AVVPAT).[6]
Therefore, the undersigned urge and propose that the definition in SB
1438 of a "direct recording electronic voting system" be further
amended to encompass only those systems which do not provide for
either an AVVPAT or the "official record" of voting to be on
paper. Language such as the following would be acceptable:
(b) "Direct recording electronic voting system" means a voting system
that includes all of the following:
(1) A device or system that does not require the voter to record his
    or her vote directly onto a tangible ballot.
(2) A device or system where an electronic record of an individual's
    vote is considered the official record.
This definition would properly encompass the aim of auditability in
direct recording electronic election systems and would not lump
systems that are not DREs under an incorrect, overbroad definition. If
SB 1438 were enacted as law today, many systems that are not DREs
would be bound by this legislation and subsequently required to
implement the AVVPAT standards--which specifically exclude and do not
make sense for non-DRE systems--or cease conducting business.
We respectfully urge you and the other co-authors and co-sponsors of
SB 1438 to restore the intent of SB 1438 by making the above
definitional change and to continue to work towards auditable,
voter-verified elections. Please do not hesitate to contact xxx for
further discussion.
Sincerely, 
Alan Dechert
President, Open Voting Consortium
(??? Will Doherty, Verified Voting ???)
(??? Kim Alexander, California Voter's Foundation ???)
[1] The earlier definition in SB 1438--as introduced--read:
(b) "Direct electronic voting system," also known as a touch screen
voting system, means a voting system that does all of the following:
(1) Records votes by means of a ballot display provided with
    mechanical or electro-optical components that can be actuated by
    the voter.
(2) Processes the data by means of a computer program.
(3) Records voting data and ballot images in internal or external
    memory components.
(4) Produces a tabulation of the voting data stored in a removable
    memory component and in printed copy.
See:
<http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_1401-1450/sb_1438_bill_20040427_a
mended_sen.html>
[2] "The most recent configuration in the evolution of voting systems
are known as direct recording electronic, or DRE's. They are an
electronic implementation of the old mechanical lever systems. As with
the lever machines, there is no ballot; the possible choices are
visible to the voter on the front of the machine. [...] The voter's
choices are stored in these machines via a memory cartridge, diskette
or smart-card and added to the choices of all other voters." See:
<http://www.fec.gov/pages/dre.htm>
[3] "These standards shall only apply to DRE systems for which an
electronic record of the vote is created by the DRE and for which that
electronic record is considered the official record." at page 1 of
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's "Standards for AVVPAT" (June 15,
2004). See:
http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/ks_dre_papers/avvpat_standards_6_15a_04.pdf
[4] For example, The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is developing a
computer-assisted ballot marking system where the "official record" of
an individual's vote is recorded on paper and deposited into a ballot
box by poll workers. The OVC's system would presumably be encompassed
by either definition.
[5] For example, any system that includes the listed features in the
as-amended definition is automatically considered a DRE no matter what
other features are parts of the voting system designed to aid
auditability.
[6] See "Standards for AVVPAT", note 3.
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:21 2004

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