Guidelines?

From: Edmund R. Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Tue May 24 2005 - 10:37:22 CDT

Hello All:

It's kind of sad when interesting people involve
themselves in the group and then quit because they had
unrealistic ideas going into the development process.
I'm thinking that perhaps a few basic guidelines need
to be prepared. Here's a starter:

===========================================

1. Voting is a process that involves both
computational and administrative/legal issues. You
can't actually separate the two anymore than a bird
can fly with one wing.

2. While figuring out the voting process can be
helped by studying various technologies like ATM's,
cash registers, gambling machines and the like, the
voting process is unique. Features that make perfect
sense for these other technologies just don't work out
for the voting process. A clear example is receipts.
A good ATM or other cash transactions machine
generates consumer receipts. A good voting machine
does not generate receipts that voters can take away
with them. Also voter identities must be kept
anonymous. RECEIPTS ARE NOT ALLOWED FOR VOTING
MACHINES IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

3. There are many important lessons to be learned
from the past. Within limits noted elsewhere, paper
ballots still make sense and when nothing else is
available and are preferable to DRE machines.
Democratic republics have spent over a century coming
up with increasingly effective and secure ways of
voting using paper. Unless there is an obvious and
compelling reason, the lessons learned over the last
150 years or so of voting via paper are not to be
discarded. We are not here to reinvent the basic
voting procedures. When there is a conflict between
an existing law or administrative procedure and the
new technology we are creating here, the existing law
and procedure are assumed to have priority over the
technological problem.

4. Not providing reasonable accommodation in the
voting process as outlined under the American's with
Disabilities Act is not only illegal but morally
unacceptable. Additionally, the system must provide
for voters that speak languages other than English.
These are the two most compelling reasons to have
computerized voting machines. Most any other reason
has to do with technological fascination and
impatience when compared to paper ballots.

5. If this were as simple as it initially seems,
someone would have already done it.

6. We assume that poll workers and registrar's of
voting are not really computer savvy.

7. We also assume that the mutual distrust that
political parties have for each other can be harnessed
to get them to keep each other honest.

8. We believe that fraud is not only possible but
likely unless careful steps are taken to mitigate it.

9. There is nothing that is 100% safe other than
death and that there are not 100% secure and effective
voting systems. Voting system security always
involves a compromise and is not a static conditions
but an ongoing process. However, we do try and focus
our energies on fixing the more obvious problems
first.

10. We make decisions and do our work via
cooperation, collaboration and something like
consensus. If you are uncomfortable with this, you
may want to direct your efforts elsewhere. There are
plenty of other important issues related to voting
that we don't work on because we've decided to focus
on this.

Some suggestions include:

============================

Anyway, that's a start. Comments, additions,
deletions, etc. are welcome. I'd like to see
something sent out like this to everyone that wants to
join the discussion group. I'd also like to find
someway to make it mandatory reading for the Forum.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy

-- 
10777 Bendigo Cove
San Diego, CA 92126-2510
858-578-8842
Work for the common good.
My profile:  <http://geocities.com/ekennedyx/>
I blog now and then at:  <http://ekennedyx.blogspot.com/>
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Received on Tue May 31 23:17:47 2005

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