Re: suggested proposals for federal election integrity legislation

From: Danny Swarzman <danny_at_stowlake_dot_com>
Date: Sun Nov 26 2006 - 15:05:21 CST


Could a short preamble be added that says that each step of the
process should be transparent and independently verifiable with a
brief definition of those terms.

About 3.

I would add 'configuration' to the list. The process by which the
software is loaded into the computers, and by which data are set up
to define the races for which the machine is used should be part

About 4.

> sufficient, scientific,

Perhaps a short definition of these terms. Do we mean that there
should be enough ballots counted and that they should be selected in
such a way as to yield results that are sufficient to resolve races?

About 9.

I wonder if there should be a requirement that software be developed
according to a quality process–something akin to what the FDA
requires of software to control medical diagnostic equipment.

The general principle is that every step of the process is documented
and that there is an audit trail that can be verified by FDA auditors.

One of the aims of such procedures is to assure that the user
documentation, the functional descriptions of the software and the
testing is all done on the same version of the software. I understand
that there have been problems in this aspect with current machines.
In the design of each software and hardware component should be a
test procedure.

The rest of the points in the list seem to exemplify these same
principles–provide and audit trail and verify everything.

About 11.

There is still a problem of the pragmatic meaning of 'qualified
credentialed'. In so far as this committee is developing requirements
for software development, it should have experts on the procedures
for developing reliable and accurate software. This knowledge isn't
necessarily gained in an advanced degree program. Until the 1980's
almost all the seminal work in software development occurred in
universities. But that is not true today. Not in this country. Even
people with advanced degrees learn much more working in the field
than they do in academic work.

In Alan and Barbara's postings we see some of the problems in
certifying people who develop software.

A more meaningful requirement would industrial experience specifying
quality procedures.

An alternative approach would be to create another subcommittee to
specify requirements for the software development process to produce
voting devices, in the spirit of 13. below.


On Nov 26, 2006, at 10:03 AM, Kathy Dopp wrote:

> Hello,
> I still need a lot of help on this fairly quickly.
> With help from a few people, including Stephanie Singer, Ed Kennedy
> and others, here is a revised list without the "Detailed comments"
> section. Stephanie suggested moving the "Whys" and "Hows" into a
> "Detailed comments" section. I still need help compiling a list of
> experts for each of the 13 items and writing a sentence or two for
> the "Detailed comments" section. A few other people have
> volunteered to make revisions today to fix up the section requiring
> better qualifications for the US EAC TGDC and a for software
> disclosure for voting systems, and a way to avoid repeating the
> attributes.
> Please, I am interested in specific suggestions to specific items.
> Thank you very much. I am happy to send the complete word doc to
> anyone who wants to help with the "Detailed comments" section.
> Thank you. I would eventually like to send a version of this to
> all US congressional reps and senators - with, if possible, list of
> voting activists who agree with it, but I need a quick version by
> Tuesday to go to a powerful Congressman via a personal friend of
> mine (not a voting activist).
> Kathy
> -----------------------
> Guidelines for Federal Legislation
> to Ensure the Integrity of the Vote Count
> Below are recommendations for legislation to preserve the integrity
> of our democracy. These recommendations are the result of detailed
> discussions with the foremost election integrity experts in the US,
> over a period of several months. They are complex and technical
> because counting votes is a complex process with many
> vulnerabilities. Protecting the vote count is not a simple matter.
> In the interest of brevity, we have omitted many technical
> details. Below the list of recommendations are more detailed
> comments, and the name and contact information of experts who can
> provide details and answer questions – please don't hesitate to ask.
> Recommendations
> Require independent, transparent, verifiable, scientific manual
> audits of all machine vote counts sufficient to ensure that
> electronically counted election outcomes are correct.
> Require routine independent, transparent, verifiable reports on
> machine allocation, equipment failure and breakdown, undervote,
> overvote, and uncounted ballot rates, absentee and provisional
> ballot & voter registration handling, and other crucial measures of
> voter services.
> Provide funds for upgrading voting systems for jurisdictions that
> have un-auditable voting systems, but fund only "fully-
> auditable" voting systems where all voters without disabilities
> directly record their own votes on paper, so that the paper record
> of votes has been verified.
> Provide funds for conducting independent, transparent, verifiable,
> sufficient, scientific, manual audits of machine vote counts and
> voter services in all elections.
> Teeth – Do not swear in Congressional Members or certify
> Presidential electors from states that have disenfranchised their
> voters by failing to audit transparently or have failed to submit
> the required auditable, audit, and voter service reports prior to
> certifying their own election results.
> Require election officials to make publicly available all election
> data and records in original paper and electronic form that would
> reveal fraud or errors in elections.
> Create a new database system for logging and tabulating voters'
> complaints in elections and for collecting all required auditable,
> audit and voter service reports; and for publicly posting all
> states' reports on the Internet.
> Require state election officials to submit all required auditable,
> audit and voter service reports to the US GAO.
> Mandate publicly disclosed software for all voting systems.
> Outlaw any network connections to, and or wireless capability in,
> voting equipment and prohibit voting through any network connection
> or by faxing ballots to any office other than the local election
> office.
> Require qualified credentialed persons to staff the EAC's technical
> guideline development committee.
> Require jurisdictions to allow representatives of non-partisan
> organizations or any well-behaved citizens to observe close-up or
> by verifiable, transparent close-up video, all aspects of elections
> Create a qualified degreed U.S. Vote Count Audit and Recount
> Committee subcommittee whose functions include approving state
> election audit and recount procedures and policies for election
> audits and voter service data reporting to detect and correct voter
> disenfranchisement.
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Received on Thu Nov 30 23:17:12 2006

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