[OVC-demo-team] Fw: [IP] Voter verifiable touchscreen voting machine to be demonstrated Thursday (fwd)

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 10:59:14 CST

Here's a message I just received that has some interesting links.

Notice the nice article from the Berkeley Daily Planet!


----- Original Message -----
From: "Joseph Lorenzo Hall" <jhall_at_SIMS_dot_Berkeley_dot_EDU>
To: "Alan Dechert" <alan@openvotingconsortium.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:12 AM
Subject: [IP] Voter verifiable touchscreen voting machine to be demonstrated
Thursday (fwd)

> Hi Alan... I won't be able to make it tomorrow... I've got a
> standards-setting meeting with my development team that cannot be
> missed (I had hoped to get that done today but have fallen sick).
> Will you be attending all or part of the Computers, Freedom and
> Privacy Conference here in Berkeley from April 20-23? There is a
> panel that you'd be interested in on e-voting on Friday April 23...
> note today is the last day to register on the cheap... here's the URL:
> http://www.cfp2004.org/
> Here's the panel description:
> 3:15 - 4:30 pm
> Empire Ballroom
> Plenary: Electronic Voting: The Great Paper Trail Debate
> If your next vote is cast on a touch screen voting machine, how will
> you know that it was counted correctly? Many computer scientists and
> public interest groups argue that voter verified paper ballots are a
> necessary check for the integrity of our elections. Opponents of voter
> verified paper ballots counter that they unnecessarily complicate the
> voting process, add needless expenses, and make providing access for
> the disabled more difficult, without really improving the integrity of
> elections.
> Moderator: Lorrie Faith Cranor, Associate Research Professor, Carnegie
> Mellon University;
> Panelists: David Wagner, Assistant Professor, University of
> California, Berkeley; Douglas A. Kellner, Commissioner, New York City
> Board of Elections; Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation;
> Michael I. Shamos, Distinguished Career Professor, Carnegie Mellon
> University; Scott Konopasek, Registrar of Voters, San Bernardino
> County, California; Dan Tokaji, Assistant Professor of Law, Ohio State
> University, Moritz College of Law
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 03:31:50 -0500
> From: Dave Farber <dave@farber.net>
> To: ip@v2.listbox.com
> Subject: [IP] Voter verifiable touchscreen voting machine to be
> demonstrated Thursday
> Delivered-To: dfarber+@ux13.sp.cs.cmu.edu
> Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 00:13:23 -0800
> From: Tim Bishop <geodog@cyberdude.com>
> Dave and Dan,
> Berkeley had its own problems with the Diebold machines last election (see
> and http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/text/article.cfm?storyID=18399) so
> it is a very encouraging sign that people from the The Open Voting
> Consortium (http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/) have volunteered their
> time and energy to trying to solve the problem of creating a better way to
> vote that is secure, fast and voter verifiable. They plan on demonstrating
> the system they have developed this Thursday in Santa Clara. My
> congratulations and thanks to them.
> My local paper had a nice story on it that you might want for IP:
> Berkeley Daily Planet
> Edition Date: Tuesday, March 30, 2004
> Bay Area Programmers Develop Touchscreen Alternative
> By JAKOB SCHILLER (03-30-04)
> As touchscreen voting machines continue to draw heat from critics pointing
> to allegations of security vulnerabilities, one group of computer science
> experts proposes to have the solution.
> The Open Voting Consortium (OVC), a nonprofit group with several Bay Area
> members, recently announced the development of touchscreen voting machine
> software that uses open source and creates a voter verified paper trail.
> Recently completed, the software is set to be publicly tested this
> Thursday, April 1, at the Santa Clara County government offices in San
> The group's development comes at a particularly charged time for the
> touchscreen debate. Just last week, Alameda County Registrar of Voters
> Clark filed an official complaint with Diebold, the manufacturer of the
> touchscreen voting machines used throughout the county. Clark was one of
> the first county registrars in the state to invest in the new technology,
> spending $12.7 million on the Diebold machines in May of 2002. But he made
> his formal complaint after several problems with the Diebold machines
> during last October's gubernatorial recall, as well as the primary earlier
> this month, resulted in switched votes and major delays.
> Two state senators, including Oakland's Don Perata, recently introduced
> legislation asking the state to decertify touchscreen machines. California
> Secretary of State Kevin Shelley has also issued two mandates asking for
> increased security updates on all touchscreen machines for upcoming
> Taking all the complaints and security vulnerabilities into question, the
> Open Voting Consortium developed a simple approach; maintain the
> of a touchscreen system but include the security features that alleviate
> the current security concerns.
> OVC's system, currently in software form only, can be used on regular
> desktop PCs hooked up to a touchscreen monitor and a standard printer.
> the touchscreen machines now in use, the OVC unit records the vote
> electronically. But unlike Diebold's machines, the OVC system also
> automatically produce a paper receipt, which is intended to be the
> tally. To ensure accuracy, the paper count is then reconciled against the
> electronic one stored on the machines.
> "Our idea is that the machines should have [a tally] that people can
> inspect," said Arthur Keller, a computer scientist who teaches part-time
> UC Santa Cruz. "You trust the paper and can have much more faith in the
> process."
> The group has written open source software that can be checked by anyone
> for malicious code that might tamper with votes. Like Linux software for
> PCs, OVC's code isn't proprietary.
> In contrast, the proprietary base software that runs the Diebold
> touchscreens machines in Alameda county was inspected by private companies
> before state certification, but is exempt from other check-ups. In the
> past, Diebold has been severely criticized for using un-certified software
> updates on their machines.
> No one associated with OVC thinks the new software or process will be the
> end-all of electronic voting problems but they say it's a step in the
> direction.
> "I think there has been a lack of critical analysis of claims made by
> voting companies, and now there is a healthier dose of criticism," said
> David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford and one of the
> experts on touchscreen voting vulnerabilities. Dill is not affiliated with
> OVC. Asked if OVC's approach might be the solution, he said, "I don't
> it's still too early to say. He added, though, that, "I'm glad they're
> doing it."
> "I have hopes that they will come up with something," said Judy Bertelsen,
> a member of Berkeley's Wellstone Democratic Club who has been tracking the
> touchscreen debate. "What I'm concerned about is that if we do get some
> sort of paper trail that people will wander off and say everything is
> The touchscreen machines are just part of the problem, Bertelsen said. She
> is also concerned about the optical scan machines, another Diebold
> These devices were responsible for switching thousands of absentee ballot
> votes from Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante to Southern California
> Socialist John Burton during the Oct. 7 recall election. The Diebold
> machines used by the county to tally votes are an additional problem.
> Like Diebold's machines, the Open Voting Consortium's system would
> facilitate voting for people with certain disabilities. The group hopes
> their machines could also provide additional advantages for blind voters
> producing paper receipts in Braille.
> The machines are still several steps away from making it onto the market.
> They need to be certified and also need the financial backing of a
> for-profit producer. One advantage over the Diebold machines, according to
> OVC members, is that the OVC software can be put on any standard PC.
> According to Keller, even an older and fairly slow PC can still run the
> program. Recycling old PCs could potentially cut down on cost, since old
> PCs can be bought for a fraction of the price of a Diebold machine.
> Alan Dechart, a former computer consultant for Sacramento County and
> founder of OVC, said the group has scheduled meetings with several
> secretaries of state around the country to discuss the new system. OVC
> partnered with several universities on their project, including the
> University of California, and hopes to receive federal funding to move the
> project ahead.
> "It will catch on in certain areas," Dechart said. "The people who have
> bought the voting machines will resist but they have to in order to cover
> their tracks so they don't have to admit they made a stupid mistake."
> The Open Voting Consortium's software demonstration will take place this
> Thursday at 10 a.m. in room 157 at the Santa Clara County government
> building located at 70 W. Hedding St. in San Jose. For more information
> please contact them at (916) 791-0456.
> --
> Thanks,
> Tim Bishop
> --
> E-mail mailto://geodog@cyberdude.com Boycott Electronic Voting Machines
> Opinions http://tiltingatwindmills.com Demand A Voter-Verified Paper
> News links http://www.midnightblog.com www.VerifiedVoting.org
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Received on Thu Apr 1 02:40:35 2004

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