Re: Reflections on the election and implications for the OVC

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Thu Nov 04 2004 - 15:54:09 CST


> The OVC has not yet raised the money nor built a production
> quality system for open voting. ....
So what? This doesn't mean we won't.

> I'm suggestion we reconsider what we aim to build based on
> the issues of time to market and incremental success. I'm not
> dogmatically tied to a particular architecture. However, I
> am tied to adjusting the OVC's strategy and tactics to achieve
> success.
Time-to-market is not that important. We've been preoccupied with HAVA
deadlines because for a time we were focusing on how the OVC system can be
implemented with HAVA funds. Frankly, if we wind up getting no benefit from
HAVA at all, that should not affect the overall vision, mission, goals, or
definition of success for the OVC.

I founded the OVC with the idea that it will be a durable organization. If
we do it right, it will outlive all of us. If it takes 10 years before the
OVC system is totally successful, that would mean that the first time my
daughter votes, it will be on an OVC-inspired open voting system. That
would be fine with me. If it takes even longer, that's also fine with me.

OVC will be successful in whatever time frame it takes. All of the
equipment purchased with HAVA funds will be replaced in not-so-many years.
HAVA is a very temporary thing.

> >The funding proposals failed -- not OVC. Things are
> >taking longer than we expected or hoped. OVC started with me sitting in
> >living room thinking there ought to be a way to do this. I see only
> >and maturation. We need to make adjustments for sure, but the
> >mission, vision, and goals of the OVC are just fine, I believe.
> I'm glad that you took up the challenge 4 years ago. Many of us
> joined the task about 16 months ago. In that time, we achieved a
> demo and publicity. ......
We accomplished a lot more than that. SB 1438 was signed into law in Sept.
I did a lot of the spade work for that beginning in DEC 2000 -- meeting with
many in the state legislature in the first half of 2001. David Dill
(VerifiedVoting), Ellen Theisen (VotersUnite and Verified Voting), Bev
Harris, Jim March (BlackBoxVoting), Cindy Cohn (EFF) and many others stepped
in a couple of years after I did this spade work. Senator Don Perata was my
first real advocate in the state legislature beginning in March of 2001. He
played an important role with SB1438 and now happens to be president of the
Senate and probably the top Democrat in the State. OVC got the wording
changed just a short time before SB 1438 passed. OVC also got ACR 242

> However, our momentum has slowed in the last 7 months.
This is a very shallow comment. In some ways, yes, we slowed down. We were
focusing on big proposals.

> I took the lead in writing several proposals for funding,
> but none of them obtained funding. Quite a few of us contributed
> greatly to those proposal writing efforts, notably David Mertz, Karl
> Auerbach, and Amy Pearl.
Yes. And we learned a lot from the process. There were some big
disappointments for sure -- especially Omidyar.

> We can "stay the course" or we can reassess what we should do
> in light of the 2004 general elections. As an officer and a board
> member of the OVC, I would be remiss if I didn't propose we
> re-evaluate our strategies and tactics in light of events.
We already have done that. The institutional funding support has not
materialized. We're going for grassroots funding instead, right now. If we
can significantly strengthen the OVC with grassroots support, we will be in
a better position to receive institutional support next year.

> Today so far, we have 6 new memberships and 5 other donations
> totalling $180. That's about 50 cumulative members.
Now it's 11 new memberships and about $300 so far today. This is with about
2300 visitors. Before the election, I reported a period where we were
getting one supporting membership for every 400 visitors and then another
period where we got on for about every 500 visitors. Since Election Day,
it's been about one for every 200 visitors. I think this is good -- no it's
phenomenal. Also, at one point we were getting one-time contributions at
the rate of about four cents per visitor. Today it's been 13 cents per

Also, as a point of clarification, we have 6 board members, 26 founding
members, and 40 supporting members -- that's 72 members. There are over 100
other people that have contributing time and/or money to the OVC project.
So, OVC has something like 200 people that have been supporting the project
(actually, there are many more than this that we don't necessarily hear
about -- you can find supportive comments around the web from people we
don't have on any list). The number is growing every day now.

There is a fantastic opportunity to grow OVC via this grassroots campaign.

> At this point, the OVC has about $1400 in the bank ...
at the moment, $1540.93 in PayPal ...

> .... and isn't ready to pay a President or Executive Director. ...
This is a pointless comment. We've agreed we can't pay any salary until we
have raised some substantial amount ("5 figures" I believe is the operative
phrase). We're working toward a goal.

> I look forward to Lori's work in
> achieving the goal of 1,000 members.
This is an odd way to characterize the goal of 1,000 members. I launched
this membership drive after a suggestion from Jim March that I hang in there
and figure out a way to raise some money.

The major boost to the campaign was provided by Bob Ramstad, who took the
initiative to contact the owner of

Other people, like David Mertz, have worked on getting links placed
elsewhere. My wife Lori has done behind the scenes work for the OVC all
She is now trying to help get the web site traffic we need to make the
membership drive successful.

I would like to see all OVC supporters get more actively behind the
membership drive we have going now -- the 1111 by 11/11 drive. You wrote
one email I know of asking for support, and I appreciate that very much.
I'd like to see you use all your connections and ingenuity to get us some
more traffic.


Alan D.
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:09 2004

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