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

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Wed Jun 23 2004 - 14:44:20 CDT

Great feedback Laird and Dave... I'll incorporate the suggestions of a
better intro. and a "statement of interests of parties" (not in those
words).

Joe

On Wed, 23 Jun 2004 00:17:50 -0400, Popkin, Laird (WMG Corp)
<laird.popkin@wmg.com> wrote:
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> 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.
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> Then we can drill into all of the details in the letter.
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> 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).
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> - LP
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> -----Original Message-----
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> From: owner-voting-project@afterburner.sonic.net
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> [mailto:owner-voting-project@afterburner.sonic.net]On Behalf Of Joseph
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> Lorenzo Hall
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> Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 11:55 PM
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> To: voting-project@lists.sonic.net
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> Subject: [voting-project] Re: SB 1438 letter... comments please...
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> I guess I should include the actual text! -Joe
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> ----
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> June 22, 2004
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> Senator Johnson (also: Perata, Murray)
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> California State Senate
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> State Capitol, Room 3063 (add Perata and Murray addresses)
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> Sacramento, CA 95814
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> ## Re: Amendment to SB 1438 introduced incorrect, overbroad definition
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> Dear Senator Johnson (Perata, Murray),
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> We are writing on behalf of the Open Voting Consortium (??? , the
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> California Voter Foundation and Verified Voting ???) to oppose, in
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> part, the April 27, 2004 amendment to SB 1438. This amendment
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> eliminated the previous definition of a "Direct electronic voting
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> system"[1] to that of a "Direct recording electronic voting system"
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> (emphasis added):
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> (b) "Direct recording electronic voting system" means a voting system
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> _that includes, but is not limited to_, any of the following:
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> (1) A device or system that employs an electronic touchscreen upon
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> which appear the names of candidates and ballot titles of measures
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> that are to be voted on by touching the designated area on the
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> screen.
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> (2) A device or system that employs an electronic screen upon which
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> appear the names of candidates and ballot titles of measures that
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> are to be voted on by pressing or otherwise activating a
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> designated mechanism of the device.
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> (3) Any device or system that does not require or permit the voter to
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> record his or her vote directly onto a tangible ballot.
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> The definition of a direct recording electronic (DRE) voting system
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> should not be this complex or inclusive. DREs are a certain class of
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> elections system with one essential characteristic: as recognized by
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> the Federal Elections Commission[2] and more recently by California
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> Secretary of State Kevin Shelley[3] the essential feature of any DRE
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> system which implicates auditability is the fact that the official
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> record of an individual's vote is stored on some sort of
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> electromechanical storage instead of on paper. This is the feature of
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> DREs that make them impossible to audit during or after an election.
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> Both the introduced and amended definitions have problems. Parts 1 and
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> 2 of the first definition (see note 1) as well as parts 1 and 2 of the
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> second definition include features of voting systems that do not
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> implicate auditability at all.[4] Further, the first definition is
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> relatively narrow in scope as a system must meet all the listed
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> requirements to be considered a DRE while the second definition uses
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> "includes, but is not limited to" language which renders the
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> definition vague and would seem to improperly encompass systems which
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> are not strictly DREs.[5]
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> What is the essential need and intent for SB 1438? To make sure, via
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> statutory enactment, that any voting system stores the "official
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> record" of an individual's vote either on a paper ballot or, if not on
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> paper, with an Accessible Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
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> (AVVPAT).[6]
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> Therefore, the undersigned urge and propose that the definition in SB
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> 1438 of a "direct recording electronic voting system" be further
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> amended to encompass only those systems which do not provide for
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> either an AVVPAT or the "official record" of voting to be on
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> paper. Language such as the following would be acceptable:
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> (b) "Direct recording electronic voting system" means a voting system
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> that includes all of the following:
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> (1) A device or system that does not require the voter to record his
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> or her vote directly onto a tangible ballot.
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> (2) A device or system where an electronic record of an individual's
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> vote is considered the official record.
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> This definition would properly encompass the aim of auditability in
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> direct recording electronic election systems and would not lump
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> systems that are not DREs under an incorrect, overbroad definition. If
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> SB 1438 were enacted as law today, many systems that are not DREs
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> would be bound by this legislation and subsequently required to
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> implement the AVVPAT standards--which specifically exclude and do not
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> make sense for non-DRE systems--or cease conducting business.
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> We respectfully urge you and the other co-authors and co-sponsors of
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> SB 1438 to restore the intent of SB 1438 by making the above
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> definitional change and to continue to work towards auditable,
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> voter-verified elections. Please do not hesitate to contact xxx for
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> further discussion.
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> Sincerely,
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> Alan Dechert
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> President, Open Voting Consortium
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> (??? Will Doherty, Verified Voting ???)
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> (??? Kim Alexander, California Voter's Foundation ???)
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> [1] The earlier definition in SB 1438--as introduced--read:
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> (b) "Direct electronic voting system," also known as a touch screen
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> voting system, means a voting system that does all of the following:
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> (1) Records votes by means of a ballot display provided with
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> mechanical or electro-optical components that can be actuated by
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> the voter.
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> (2) Processes the data by means of a computer program.
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> (3) Records voting data and ballot images in internal or external
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> memory components.
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> (4) Produces a tabulation of the voting data stored in a removable
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> memory component and in printed copy.
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> See:
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> <http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/sen/sb_1401-1450/sb_1438_bill_20040427_amended_sen.html>
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> [2] "The most recent configuration in the evolution of voting systems
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> are known as direct recording electronic, or DRE's. They are an
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> electronic implementation of the old mechanical lever systems. As with
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> the lever machines, there is no ballot; the possible choices are
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> visible to the voter on the front of the machine. [...] The voter's
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> choices are stored in these machines via a memory cartridge, diskette
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> or smart-card and added to the choices of all other voters." See:
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> <http://www.fec.gov/pages/dre.htm>
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> [3] "These standards shall only apply to DRE systems for which an
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> electronic record of the vote is created by the DRE and for which that
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> electronic record is considered the official record." at page 1 of
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> Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's "Standards for AVVPAT" (June 15,
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> 2004). See:
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> http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/ks_dre_papers/avvpat_standards_6_15a_04.pdf
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> [4] For example, The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is developing a
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> computer-assisted ballot marking system where the "official record" of
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> an individual's vote is recorded on paper and deposited into a ballot
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> box by poll workers. The OVC's system would presumably be encompassed
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> by either definition.
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> [5] For example, any system that includes the listed features in the
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> as-amended definition is automatically considered a DRE no matter what
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> other features are parts of the voting system designed to aid
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> auditability.
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> [6] See "Standards for AVVPAT", note 3.
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-- 
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
http://pobox.com/~joehall/
blog: http://pobox.com/~joehall/nqb/
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Received on Wed Jun 30 23:17:22 2004

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