Re: More on voting stations

From: Arthur Keller <arthur_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 12:34:32 CDT

At 10:00 AM -0700 5/7/04, Alan Dechert wrote:
>However, the OVC idea is to produce an inexpensive system that "runs on
>anything"--and it will work without a smartcard.

Perhaps it is buried in the numerous writings you've produced over
that 3.5 years. However, consider the fiasco in March's primary in
San Diego where the incorrect ballot was voted in many combined
precincts polling places And consider primary ballots in general,
where there are multiple ballot types voted in the same polling
place. This forum hasn't heard from you a satisfactory solution to
that problem that does not involve a token that you receive when you
sign in at the polling place.

>This is the idea I've been selling for 3.5 years. That will not change.

That's dogmatic. First, we'll need to do appropriate threat analysis
and our designs *will* change based on those studies. Second, we
will need changes, such as the addition of that smart-card token,
merely to get the proposal accepted for funding by the California
Secretary of State.

>People like the idea.

Some people like it and some don't. That you've been selling the
idea for 3.5 years doesn't preclude deferring one or more ideas in
the interest of getting other ideas adopted.

"The best is the enemy of the good." --Voltaire

>It makes sense to make it as simple and obvious as possible to the voter: you
>go to the machine, make your selections, print your ballot and take it to
>deposit in the ballot box.

"Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler." --Einstein

Based on the threat analysis, your concepts may be *too* simple.

>It also makes sense to people to make best use
>of available resources rather than spend a lot of money on dedicated voting

That well depends on the appropriate risk management studies. I
would bet that the first certified version is based on a specific
hardware/software configuration.

>The OVC idea is significantly messier from the election administrators'
>point of view. But it makes a great deal of sense to the average person.
>We can get the fixed configuration system certified easier, but I guarantee
>I will get the messier idea certified too.

I think there isn't just one OVC idea. There is a configuration of
OVC ideas: Open source; commodity hardware, paper ballot,
reconciliation, and so forth. In my book, if the vast majority of
these ideas are implemented in a system we develop, and that system
is adopted, that will be fantastic. If the OVC never fields a
system, but the vast majority of our ideas are adopted by existing
commercial vendors, who then produce trustworthy systems, I will also
consider our efforts a success. Others may not.

Best regards,

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:22 2004

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