Re: A brief introduction and some questions. Follow up.

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Mon May 03 2004 - 16:14:30 CDT

Edward,

> Thanks for your thoughts. It must be nice to
> always know what you're talking about. ;-) I've come
> to realize that using new commodity machines is a good
> approach. Trying to make a ragtag bunch of oddball
> machine of various, makes, models, vintages and quirks
> work reliably and predictably sounds actually more
> expensive than buying new identical machines. ...
>
Right. Except we're not going to base decisions on "sounds actually more
like."

All of this needs thorough investigation ... costs/benefits etc. A lot of
the issues are not obvious.

A few of the models discussed involve

- leading edge, use once for voting
- trailing edge, use once for voting
- leading edge, warehoused systems used multiple times
- trailing edge, warehoused systems used multiple times.

> Also, each machine needs to be capable of burning
> CD's which is not something of which many old PC's
> would be capable. ....
>
If we go with trailing edge, typically these machines would be about 4 years
old. Most any system built in 2000 can burn CDs. More than 2 million such
PCs are retired each month -- more than the number needed in all the polling
places in the US. Keep in mind that over time the situation gets better...
i.e., trailing edge machines will be increasingly powerful over time with
flat screen monitors.

>. Hardware,
> without a bulk discount, should cost in the
> neighborhood of $500-600US/unit. This is assuming
> that these machines run on line power and are not
> laptops. This is just a rough first approximation.
> It however beats the heck out Diebolds $3,000 each
> DRE's.
>
Yes, OVC's system will be significantly less. However, no decisions have
been made on the configuration. It's quite possible that several models
will be workable. A county may already own all the PCs it needs and decide
to use those and keep them for voting rather than sell them or give them
away (they get very very little for a palet full of 4 yr-old PCs). Another
county might decide to rent PCs from a local vendor that has thousands of
PCs of the same make and model (one PC remarketer I spoke with last year
said he was expecting to get 20,000 Dell Optiplex 500 Mhz--all the same
model that would be pulled from a government office building). Another
county might time their purchase of new machines such that the machines are
set up for voting right after they come out of the box: after the election,
they get configured for office use and never used for voting again.

In other words, I think it's whatever works for people. We don't have to
decided for them.

> In the meantime, I would imagine images would
> have to be written to the hard drive of the voting
> machine. Is my understanding correct?
>
No. Please read the FAQ.

The machines may or may not have a harddrive. We don't know yet. It's also
possible that some will and some won't. The data will be stored in at least
other media besides ram before it's written to CD at closing.

> It can be
> notoriously difficult to erase hard drives in such a
> way that the information can't be recovered. I had
> suggested that there needs to be an automatic erasure
> routine built into the EVM program as part of the
> process of closing down the machines. ....
>
The Australian system eVACS erases the HD on start up. I don't know if they
erase on shut down.

Obviously there are a lot of details TBD.

Alan D.
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:05 2004

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