Re: Document on Holt bill (was Re: I need your helptoday-- oppose Holt bill as introduced)

From: Jim Tobias <tobias_at_inclusive_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jun 27 2009 - 07:52:32 CDT

I'll make 2 comments on the accessibility issue.

1. It's possible to view the current voting technology situation, in a
simplified manner, as a collision between 2 contending social movements:
secure/accurate voting vs. accessible voting. It may happen that these are
resolved not in one technology but in a "polling place ecosystem" consisting
of a method requiring both "normal" manual and visual abilities (which may
or may not be "high tech"), and a definitely high-tech accessible system.
Due to cost constraints, the most common ecosystem might be many stations
for hand-marking paper ballots, and 1 station for accessible voting. If
this comes about, the primary driver for any "high tech" voting technology
will be accessibility.

2. Whether OVC gets any R&D funding for accessibility is entirely dependent
on what we do. OVC's potential advantages in this domain would be its
willingness to work directly and openly with disability advocates as
co-developers (not as captive cheerleaders) and the non-proprietary status
of its outputs. There is already a body of technological work on
accessibility in the open source community, brought about through active
working relationships with the disability communities. If OVC can establish
itself in this domain through those channels, and achieve some dramatic
results -- which would not be hard to do, considering what's out there -- we
would have a leg up on the competition.

***
Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
+1.908.907.2387 v/sms
skype jimtobias
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alan Dechert [mailto:dechert@gmail.com]
> Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 2:24 PM
> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Document on Holt bill (was Re: I
> need your helptoday-- oppose Holt bill as introduced)
>
>
> > On Fri, 26 Jun 2009, Alan Dechert wrote:
> >> Mostly, it will be the Holt bill with a bunch of stuff deleted.
> >> However, there will also be some changes. For example,
> the bill says
> >> $5 million for R&D on accessible technology. This technology will
> >> become "non proprietary" for use by anyone including vendors. We
> >> want to specify that the licensing will be GPL, not
> BSD-style. So,
> >> vendors can use it but, it they do, the resulting product
> must also
> >> be open. As it stands, they could incorporate it into
> their proprietary product.
> >
> > That's an easy way to guarantee it won't get included, and
> to continue
> > to allow the antibodies to paint the open source community
> as IP extremists.
> >
> Well, now, that's interesting, Brian. I will give that some
> thought. I wonder what others think of that.
>
> On the one hand, I'd like to see the funding for non
> proprietary accessibility technology included. In fact, this
> part of the bill says almost exactly what I asked Rush Holt
> to include when he called me on the phone last year.
>
> On the other hand, I'm skeptical about the funding doing any
> good. OVC would probably not get any of the money. And
> unless the work is really good and fits with our system, it
> may not be useful to us. So, I wouldn't necessarily consider
> it a great loss if it were taken out.
>
> Since ES&S has the closest thing to the "no touch" feature
> for disabled access, this may wind up being, in effect, a $5
> million grant to the benefit of ES&S to improve the AutoMARK
> with AutoCAST feature. We may want to rename the Holt bill
> (as introduced) to the "ES&S bill," since it calls for the
> AutoMARK with AutoCAST feature and gives ES&S $5 million to
> improve the system.
>
> In my view, this thing I asked for has really turned against
> us. I think we have to ask for GPL'd technology. Failing
> that, remove it from the bill.
>
> Alan D.
>
>
>
>
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Received on Tue Jun 30 23:17:16 2009

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