Re: Urgent Call for Comments

From: Barbara Simons <simons_at_acm_dot_org>
Date: Mon Nov 12 2007 - 09:14:55 CST

Hi, Arlene. I was asking Nancy Tobi to explain her comments, not
others. Furthermore, the situation to which Wang referred has nothing
to do with my question. If you recall, I am asking Nancy to justify her
language. She attacked "hubris-filled technologists
sitting on guidelines development committee." So far as I know, there
are no technologists, hubris-filled or otherwise, sitting on the EAC.
Furthermore, I assume (but perhaps Nancy will explain her words) that
Nancy was referring to the TGDC, since I know of no other "guidelines
development committee,"
Regards,
Barbara

Arlene Montemarano wrote:
> Well, Barbara, here is one example:
>>
>>
>> A Rigged Report on U.S. Voting?
>> <http://www.oregonvrc.org/2007/08/a_rigged_report_on_u_s_voting>
>>
>> Submitted by Deb <http://www.oregonvrc.org/user/deb> on Fri,
>> 08/31/2007 - 5:14pm. Election News - NATIONAL
>> <http://www.oregonvrc.org/general_forum/election_news_reference_library/election_news_national>
>>
>>
>> By Tova Andrea Wang
>> Thursday, August 30, 2007; A21
>> click here for original article
>> <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/29/AR2007082901928.html>
>>
>> After the 2000 Florida election debacle, Congress established a body
>> called the Election Assistance Commission to improve voting and
>> democracy in this country. Two years ago, the commission approached
>> me about doing a project that would take a preliminary look at voter
>> fraud and intimidation and make recommendations for further research
>> on the issues.
>>
>> Because my approach to election issues tends to be more closely
>> aligned with Democrats, I was paired with a Republican co-author. To
>> further remove any taint of partisanship, my co-author and I convened
>> a bipartisan working group to help us. We spent a year doing research
>> and consulting with leaders in the field to produce a draft report.
>> What happened next seems inexplicable. After submitting the draft in
>> July 2006, we were barred by the commission's staff from having
>> anything more to do with it.
>>
>> What was the problem? In all the time we were doing our research and
>> drafting the report, neither the staff nor the commissioners, who
>> were continually advised of our activities and the substance of our
>> work, raised any concerns about the direction we were going or the
>> research findings.
>>
>> Yet, after sitting on the draft for six months, the EAC publicly
>> released a report -- citing it as based on work by me and my
>> co-author -- that completely stood our own work on its head.
>>
>> read more
>> <http://www.oregonvrc.org/2007/08/a_rigged_report_on_u_s_voting>
>
>
> Barbara Simons wrote:
>> Hi, Nancy. What are the names of the "hubris-filled technologists
>> sitting on guidelines development committee" and what have they done
>> that makes you use such rhetoric when referring to them? Please be
>> specific about who they are and what they have done.
>>
>> Also, what basis do you have for saying:
>>
>>> they are sitting in a wonderland of their own making, oblivious to
>>> election realities or the requirements of democratic elections, most
>>> specifically, those being CITIZEN OVERSIGHT and OBSERVABLE VOTE
>>> COUNTING. You might think they are just airily spinning off their
>>> piles of gold under the magic spell of some hidden and unbidden
>>> Rumpelstiltskin.
>>>
>>
>>
>> Furthermore, it would be a helpful if you could avoid vague generalities
>> and RESPONDING IN CAPITAL LETTERS. You may feel that the use of caps is
>> not yelling, but for many of us who have been using email for years and
>> years, the use of capitals is in fact equivalent to yelling. Frankly, I
>> think it would help your arguments if you would simply use a standard
>> font for your email and allow your arguments to speak for themselves.
>> If your arguments are sound, you won't need to use caps or italic or
>> bold fonts.
>>
>> I look forward to your response.
>>
>> Barbara
>>
>> Nancy Tobi wrote:
>>
>>> Actually, it is not clear to what extent the EAC has listened to the
>>> vendors on these guidelines. The guidelines represent software and
>>> hardware specifications for equipment that will be immensely complex
>>> and expensive to develop and then to market.
>>>
>>> Given that their target market is publicly funded municipalities, a
>>> market without deep pockets, and given that there is plenty in these
>>> requirements that will be next to impossible to produce in any kind of
>>> marketable reality, it is actually a mystery to me what and who is
>>> really driving this new round of specifications.
>>>
>>> Watching the hubris-filled technologists sitting on the guidelines
>>> development committee, you kind of think they are sitting in a
>>> wonderland of their own making, oblivious to election realities or the
>>> requirements of democratic elections, most specifically, those being
>>> CITIZEN OVERSIGHT and OBSERVABLE VOTE COUNTING. You might think they
>>> are just airily spinning off their piles of gold under the magic spell
>>> of some hidden and unbidden Rumpelstiltskin.
>>>
>>> The vendor reps that I met at these guidelines committee meetings
>>> seemed to resemble shell shocked deer gazing into the blinding
>>> headlights of an oncoming and inevitable collision. Slightly spooked
>>> by what they were seeing and hearing, and openly remarking on the
>>> impossibility of it all.
>>>
>>> Whoever is behind this boondoggle, the goal is clear: complexify
>>> elections to the point where there will be no citizen oversight
>>> whatsoever and nobody will understand what is going on with the
>>> elections other than a handful of "qualified" people (as Congressman
>>> Holt liked to call the elite few who would be granted access to the
>>> keys to the kingdom).
>>>
>>> And whoever is behind handing off the verbiage directly from the EAC
>>> guidelines to Congressional staffers like Michelle Mulder in Rush
>>> Holt's office, seems to be determined to make this complexified
>>> technoelection paradigm the law of the land.
>>>
>>> The anonymous, unseen hand behind all this is way ahead of all of us.
>>> I suppose, in general terms you can try to trace the breadcrumbs to
>>> the source. In this case, we know that the EAC reports directly to the
>>> Oval Office.
>>>
>>> Ultimately, the only solution to rescue our democracy from this
>>> nightmare is to abolish the EAC, innoculate against its deadly virus
>>> by killing its little cottage industry of federalized voting system
>>> design, and to swiftly and with finality eradicate its technoelection
>>> kingdom from the land.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>>
>>> Nancy
>>>
>>> On Nov 11, 2007 4:54 PM, Richard C. Johnson <dick@iwwco.com
>>> <mailto:dick@iwwco.com>> wrote:
>>>
>>> Folks,
>>>
>>> Now is the time for a concerned activists of whatever persuasion
>>> to engage in public comment about the EAC's proposed Voluntary
>>> Voting System Guidelines. These guidelines are not truly
>>> voluntary; the states may adopt them and require them by law;
>>> California, for example, incorporates these guidelines into its
>>> requirements for voting systems.
>>>
>>> The EAC has listened to Diebold/Premier, ES&S, Sequoia and other
>>> vendors in formulating these guidelines. If you trust the
>>> vendors, fine. In not, please register your comments via the
>>> online tool provided at:
>>>
>>> http://www.eac.gov/vvsg
>>>
>>> The Glossary is the worst section, defining terms (Paper Trails
>>> are equivalent to Paper Ballots: see CVR in the Glossary) in
>>> strange and unusual ways to set the default for any arguments and
>>> confuse the public. Truly, this is WAR=PEACE time.
>>>
>>> Note: when you comment, cite the target subject of your comment
>>> in the text, since they lump all comments under gross categories
>>> (like, all Glossary comments are gathered under "g".
>>>
>>> We may not all have money, we may not have relatives who are in
>>> Congress, but all of us who are aware enough and have access to
>>> the internet can comment. It is a lot of work, but just look at
>>> the Test section and see if you think a White Box Test is just a
>>> spec with Black box modules. Some of us don't think you can do
>>> much White Box testing without Open Source; the EAC would have you
>>> believe that White Box testing has a great deal of Black in it,
>>> but they still want to call it White rather than Grey. What it is
>>> not is transparent!
>>>
>>> IMHO.
>>>
>>> -- Dick
>>>
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Received on Fri Nov 30 23:17:17 2007

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