Re: Diebold Commercials in Georgia

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Thu Mar 11 2004 - 11:21:21 CST

Mason,

> I have been offline on a project for a while, but I would say
> that the money that is already committed is going to be as
> big a problem as anything. .....
>
It's only a problem insofar as people perceive it to be a problem. Which is
to say, yes, it's a problem, but people on our side of the fence should
understand what the plan is and how it all washes out.

I estimate that if a few key people in CA had really embraced our proposal
in 2001, it would have saved taxpayers at least half of the 4 billion being
thrown at replacement of the old voting system(s). It's a shame, in a way.
But it's water under the bridge at this point. What's a few billion wasted
in a 6 trillion dollar economy? And, in a way, it hasn't been a total waste
because it is helping to make our point. Also, we can more easily justify
spending many millions on our proposed R&D project since it's a tiny
fraction of the total HAVA appropriations. Right now, the way HAVA is
written and the way the appropriations bill is written (and the way we have
structured our proposal(s) ), our project has to be funded.

It's no problem that so much money has already been committed. There is a
huge amount still available. The big commitments amounts to a big straw man
for us to tear apart. The script I wrote in 2001 wasn't followed but we
still got a part in the play. We didn't set the stage. It was set for us.
We need to look at what's on the stage and understand our role. It's not
bad, really.

> ... I think that any open-source voting software should be
> available for the various vendor platforms.
>
Maybe. But there is no reason to invest too much time, effort, and money on
that. They really follow a different model and it would be a bit like
trying to fit a Ferrari engine in a pick up truck.

> Municipalities might end up paying the vendor as much to
> maintain the machines running open-source. .......
>
In the short run maybe. In the long run, no. The system we are proposing
will be much cheaper. The Diebolds of the world will not stay in the voting
machine business for long. Keep in mind that voting machines are a very
small part of Diebold's business and I doubt they have ever made any money
on them. It's very expensive having sales people in 2,219 counties. The OVC
will lead an effort to outlaw blackbox voting machines. Once we succeed
with that, the voting machine business will look very uninteresting to
Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, et al.

> If the vendors could divorce themselves from liability
> for the software by running an open-source solution,
> and still generate the same revenue, it would be an
> easier pill to swallow.
>
We are working with a different model. We will be growing a large crop of
new vendors. I predict that NONE of the current major voting machine
vendors will be in this business in 10 years--probably most will be gone
within 5 years.

Alan D.
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Received on Wed Mar 31 23:17:05 2004

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