Re: US Election Assistance Commission--Questions

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Fri May 07 2004 - 15:50:33 CDT

I wanted to clear up one comment posted below:

-----Original Message-----
From: Edward Cherlin <edward_dot_cherlin_at_etssg_dot_com>

>Would Open Source work better?

>"If you find a bug in Linux, you are responsible for fixing it."

>DeSoaries asks what happens with Open Source. Can anybody make
changes and then run the result in an election? Would Open
Source be certified? Would changes need to be certified?

I'd like to clarify the above comments since they might be too short to be clear:

the hart intercivic rep said that the open source he is aware of is Linux and Linux REQUIRES an end user who finds the bug to fix it and implied this would not be a workable model for election officials. It became apparent he did not understand Linux or open source.

Before any more intelligent comments could occur soaries quickly tabled all discussion on open source and asked for comments in writing.
but he told them to specifically address the issue of COTS modification in their comments on code availability. (Edward's comments above are slightly inaccurate: he was speaking about COTS not open source). He asked them to address what level of modification of COTS software should be permitted and not trigger a review by the independent testing authority. He indicated this "perceptually" would seem to be a bad loophole currently.

He also went out of his way to say that the panel will strongly consider economics and viable bussiness requirments in any reccomendation it chooses to make. He was very explicit about this. He emphasized that his concerns were about perception and how perceptions can change. His comments about Lever machines (qouted above) were in the context of saying that for 90 years we really didn't have a perception that lever machines were all that bad. Now we do. (which is why were are going to DRE). (He was basically warning the vendors to stop dimissing voter concerns with their claims of perfect elections and testing) So perceptions matter and the council will make sure that voters concerns are addressed while still allowing a viable bussniess model.

last comment before session break: ES&S rep was sternly reprimanded. Soaries said that while they were satisfied with his excellent testimony they said they would write to ES&S expressing their displeasure of sending merely a board member not involved in day-to-day issues. It was clearly a warning about respecting the council's authority.

ES&S rep earlier seemed to be trying to plant the following meme: In the near future regardless of what you decide is the best system it aint gonna happen. But in the mean time parallel testing can be done strarting right NOW. Lets do parallel testing. oh and by the way if you do parallel testing then you dont need that other paper trails non-sense. So lets make parallel testing the standard not paper. (this attitude seems odd to me because, perhaps he did not know it, ES&S just bough vogue elections systems and now sells touch screens that mark optical sense ballots for reading in separate tabulators. Not exactly the same as OVC but one of the few vendors separating tabualtion and ballot marking with a paper intermediate handled by the voter himself)

my sense was the only person there who really could argue on the basis of data and understood the concepts was the avante rep. of course he would like to see paper trails mandated. but all his responses were insightful not repetioion of statistics like "96 % of voters like out products" or there were 0% undervotes in califorina on out machines.

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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:24 2004

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