Re: Representative Holt's OWN WORDS [Re: OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 36, Issue 9]

From: Arlene Montemarano <mikarl_at_starpower_dot_net>
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 06:56:15 CDT

Yes, I see the distinction, thank you.

I, of course, am only familiar with the way experts are deferred to, in
many cases unquestioningly, to by those not part of the expert community.

David Jefferson wrote:
> Dear Ms. Montemarano,
>
> With all due respect, you are not defending Ms. Tobi, but in fact
> contradicting her. You say that the "elite" designation comes from
> election officials, and that "it is THEY who are closed".
>
> But read what Ms. Tobi wrote (with my emphasis added):
>
> "elitist movement among technologists"
> "un-debated. Especially among the elite themselves"
> "these self appointed experts"
> "experts ... drowning in their own self created illusion that a
> high tech, complexified, opaque, and expertified election
> system can meet the standards for a free and open democracy"
>
> Ms. Tobi is clearly attacking the "experts" themselves, not, as you
> choose to read it, the officials who listen to them to the exclusion
> of others.
>
> I don't know Ms. Tobi at all. She may be a friend of yours, in which
> case I apologize to you for castigating her writing to you. But
> people must take responsibility for what they write, and their
> friends, rather than defending the indefensible, should encourage them
> to tone down their flaming rhetoric and think before they write.
>
> David
>
> David R. Jefferson
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Arlene Montemarano <mikarl@starpower.net>
> To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list <ovc-discuss@listman.sonic.net>
> Sent: Friday, November 2, 2007 12:06:07 PM
> Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] Representative Holt's OWN WORDS [Re:
> OVC-discuss Digest, Vol 36, Issue 9]
>
> In defense of Nancy, I would like to just say that the "elite"
> designation comes from the election officials that I have dealt with.
> It is THEY who are closed to anyone who cannot prove their expertize
> with substantial credentials. They have made certain experts "elite"
> and exclude other people's ideas who are without all the credentials.
> I believe that attitude is based on fear of the technology that many
> people have, especially election officials, who are responsible for
> it's application. So they all too willingly defer to the experts for
> the last word on everything.
>
> I saw the same attitude for years when I was on the planning board of
> a small community in New Jersey. When faced with any important
> decision...........then it was the local engineering firm to whom the
> officials turned with the same narrow deference.
>
>
>
> David Jefferson wrote:
>> Nancy Tobi wrote:
>>
>> > The elitist movement among technologists to yank our elections
>> > out of the populist muck is a big problem that remains for the
>> > most part un-debated. Especially among the elite themselves.
>> > A shame, because many of these elitists are quite intelligent and
>> > could no doubt bring interesting and useful insights to a real
>> > debate and discussion about Democracy.
>>
>> > But these self appointed experts with their singular access to
>> > Capital Hill who are advising and advocating for IT standards in
>> > our elections have completely fallen off the People's boat, and
>> > are drowning in their own self created illusion that a high tech,
>> > complexified, opaque, and expertified election system can meet
>> > the standards for a free and open democracy.
>>
>> As one of those who might be classified among the "elite"
>> technologists who influence election security, I find this kind of
>> writing to be utter nonsense and offensive.
>>
>> I know of no one except vendors, vendor sympathizers, and
>> under-informed politicians who argues that access to details of
>> election technology should be confined to "experts". The "experts"
>> are all -- without exception -- completely aware that it would be
>> antidemocratic and terrible public policy to confine technical
>> information about voting systems to experts. Almost all of us favor
>> complete public disclosure of all voting system code, at least once
>> it is cleaned up enough that its disclosure does not do more security
>> harm than good. (And if it were up to me, there would be a date
>> certain after which all such code must be disclosed or decertified.)
>>
>> The idea that there is an "elitist movement among technologists to
>> yank our elections out of the populist muck" is complete nonsense. I
>> know all of these technologists, and absolutely no one fits that
>> description--even the ones I vociferously disagree with. The idea
>> that this is a "big problem that remains for the most part
>> un-debated. Especially among the elite themselves." is also
>> nonsense. If there is no debate it is only because all of the
>> "elite" technologists agree with you that voting technology cannot be
>> left up to technologists.
>>
>> Your characterization of these "experts" as "self appointed" is also
>> nonsense. To the extent that these experts have the roles they do it
>> is because they were appointed, not by themselves, but by election
>> officials and authorities in California, Florida, Ohio, Washington,
>> D.C. and other places around the country. And for the most part the
>> authorities have chosen technical experts well. The people who did
>> the California TTBR, the Florida studies of ES&S and Diebold, the
>> ongoing Ohio review, and the computer scientists who serve on the
>> TGDC and at NIST are among the best in the world.
>>
>> The fact that so much has already been disclosed about the current
>> state of voting system technology is largely from the efforts of the
>> very technologists you are trying to smear. None of us wants to sign
>> NDAs, and all of us want the technology to be open. You apparently
>> have no idea what actually happens. As a recent example, I can tell
>> you that the currently ongoing Ohio study was delayed for *months* by
>> bitter wrangling over the content of the nondisclosure agreement and
>> the right regarding publication, potential redaction, and
>> prepublication review of the final study. It is the technologists
>> who are fighting those battles that you are clearly totally unaware
>> of. We literally spend as much time fighting over openness as we do
>> in the technology studies themselves. There were similar struggles
>> in Florida and California, and in each case it is the technologists
>> fighting for more extensive public disclosure. I myself have fought
>> some of these battles, most prominently over Internet voting in which
>> I refused to sign any NDA when joining a panel to review the DoD's
>> Internet voting system, SERVE, in 2004. Our subsequent damning
>> report, which is public, caused that system to be shut down in early
>> 2004 before it could be used.
>>
>> Ms. Tobi, I really hate to see writing like yours. You have no idea
>> what you are talking about on these points, and should not be writing
>> in such a slapdash sarcastic tone. The long fight for election
>> security and transparency is not helped when people just make stuff
>> up and sling mud at the wrong targets.
>>
>> David Jefferson
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
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>
>
> -----Inline Attachment Follows-----
>
> begin:vcard
> fn:"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can
> be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to
> bring them the real facts": Abraham Lincoln
> n:MONTEMARANO;ARLENE
> email;internet:mikarl@starpower.net <mailto:mikarl@starpower.net>
> note;quoted-printable:http://www.SaveOurVotes.org =
> =0D=0A=
> =0D=0A=
> Without free elections, nothing else matters
> version:2.1
> end:vcard
>
>
>
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:07 2007

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