Re: Reflections on the election and implications for the OVC

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Thu Nov 04 2004 - 17:55:16 CST


> Yes, and to do so, it might make sense to change exactly what we wind
> up building. The biggest problem with the Dechert architecture is
> that it's an all-or-nothing system. You need a EVM, an EVM/RII, a
> BVA, and a BRP for it to be usable. That's why I propose using
> op-scan mark-sense ballots. Our system can then be adopted
> incrementally.
We'll see what we have time, energy, and money to do in the near term. We
are not going to decide this today.

> I'm wondering how many other people on this list feel we should
> abandon trying to get something deployed for 2006. .....
I did not suggest abandoning "trying to get something deployed for 2006." I
don't know anyone that is suggesting that.

I did say that our existence doesn't depend on that. The better foothold we
can achieve in 2006, the shorter the time to the complete success I am

> .... I do think we will have much less impact if we don't
> have any system deployed for the 2006 election.
You are mischaracterizing the task. It's not a matter of "less impact" or
more impact by some specific date. The goal of the OVC has been stated in
many places at various times. For example, our March press release says,
"The Open Voting Consortium intends to make free voting software available
for use in public elections to begin a process founders hope will transform
the voting system from a fraud-prone, blackbox, proprietary, expensive,
idiosyncratic, unreliable system to a technically sound, accurate, secure,
inexpensive, uniform and open voting system."

This is what we're trying to do. This has not changed. If you think the
goal is something else, you need to revise your thinking. There is nothing
in there about what has to happen by such-and-such a date.

> I think that OVC will be a durable organization if it creates a
> tangible output. ....
We have achieved tangible results. Part of our mission will be to continue
pushing legislation that requires a paper ballot. We will also push for
legislation that requires software to be open source. I have invested a
huge amount of time and effort along these lines. If I can get paid for my
time, I will continue to devote a large amount of time and effort on this.
Given especially the outcome of the presidential race, I will not devote any
time on federal legislation. I think it's a black hole. I plan to focus on
legislation at the state level.

> For me, that's building something deployable for
> 2006.
You've got some very narrow criteria there. It's not my criteria and not
the criteria of the OVC as far as I can tell. So long as the OVC
organization continues to grow, develop, and mature, it's reason for
existence will continue. I flatly reject your criteria. The voting system
is a multi-faceted animal. There are many things that need to happen to
reach the type of system we're have described in various public documents
we've produced.

> If we've not gotten any tangible changes to the systems
> deployed for 2006 (whether ours or someone else's), I will consider
> that a failure and will likely wind down my involvement.
That's fine. You should consider resigning at any point you cease to
provide positive benefit to the organization. You have done great things
for the OVC in the past. I hope to see your contributions continue in the
future. Right now, I need your help to make the membership drive a success.

> It's not clear to me what will make us successful in 10 years
> if we have little direct impact on 2006.
I can see that it's not clear to you.

> I was asked to write a blurb as follows:
> Write me a short (<1 page) description of where you are, the progress
> you've made, and targets during the coming few months. If possible,
> relate it to things we will have seen in this election.
> and then it would be sent out by one or more organizations.
Okay, we can type something quickly. However, beware of time-wasting
brain-pickers. We just spent 4 months trying to explain our project in
excruciating detail in order to get some funding. We don't have time to
spend with such people right now. Consider how long Bob Ramstad took to get
the link on Then look at the text that drove people to
our web site. Right now, it says, "The Open voting consortium is a group
addressing the subject of verifiable voting." That's it! The people we're
after right now will quickly recognize the value of the OVC project. They
don't need to do any big sales pitch for us. Just a very short teaser to
get people to our web site. It appear that the shorter it is the better.
Once sentence seems to work better thn two sentences.

> I'd like to see a discussion in this group on what our targets
> should be in the coming few months.
Fine. Here are a few (not necessarily in this order):

- Develop sustainable funding base from grassroots
- Form sister 501(c)(3) organization
- Establish relationships with major companies that will be involved in OVC
- Start getting SB1438-type legislation introduced in various state houses
- Get bill to require open source software introduced in various state
- Continue with efforts to get HAVA funding through states
- Continue with efforts to get institutional funding support
- Do security assessment of OVC system(s)
- Hire staff to develop and test OVC system(s)

Since we have gained a lot of proposal writing experience, I think we can
continue with these activities without taxing ourselves to heavily. Getting
the 501(c)(3) in place will improve our ability to get foundation support.

Alan D.

Alan D.
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Received on Tue Nov 30 23:17:10 2004

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