Re: Commonwealth Club event...

From: Joseph Lorenzo Hall <joehall_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Thu Oct 14 2004 - 09:16:31 CDT

The audio for the Kim Zetter-moderated Commonwealth Club event is now available:


On Mon, 11 Oct 2004 13:42:55 -0700, Joseph Lorenzo Hall
<> wrote:
> Please correct me if you were at the event and I got something wrong.
> Sorry this comes so late, it's really only notes (it will be broadcast
> at some point)... the event had the following in attendance:
> DAVID L. DILL, Ph.D., Founder and Board Director,
> DANIEL TOKAJI, Professor of Law, Ohio University; Author, "Equal Vote" Blog
> MARC CARREL, Assistant Secretary of State, California
> DAN BURK, Registrar of Voters, Washoe County, Nevada
> HENRY BRADY, Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley
> KIM ZETTER, Senior Reporter, Wired News; Moderator
> Dan Tokaji mentioned that he comes at this debate from the perspective
> of a civil rights lawyer. In that respect, DREs seem to reduce
> residual votes.
> Dan Burk mentioned that residual votes includes undervotes as well as
> overvotes, and DREs *don't allow overvoting* so to compare the two in
> terms of "residual votes", isn't that simple. He said that the only
> problems he had in the recent Nevada primary (in Washoe County... the
> largest county to use the VeriVote printers other than Clark County
> (Las Vegas) which only had one VVPAT-enabled DRE per precinct)) were
> either the pollworkers being overly nervous and anxious with the new
> system, misguided voters who had though that they could walk out of
> the polling place with the receipt and people who were very upset at
> having to vote on a machine at all.
> David Dill mentioned that he saw two problems with the VeriVote
> system... that it doesn't allow non-visual verification of what's
> printed on the paper (which he said, as an engineer, he could easily
> think of a few ways of solving) and that the VVPATs are stored on a
> roll of paper in the cast-vote order which could compromise ballot
> privacy. (not to mention that they're on flimsy thermal paper. -jlh)
> Marc Carrel was asked a question, "How did uncertified code get on
> some machines in the first place?" He said, essentially, that the
> system had been broken... that it wasn't prepared for electronic
> voting. They've put into place measures to address some of the
> problems but he emphasized how different elections with these machines
> are. He mentioned that in the 2000 election very few localities were
> using e-voting and in the 1996 presidential election none of them
> were.
> Carrel was then asked (my question, sorry for no plug OVC), "In the
> decertification order of April 30, the Secretary of State mentioned a
> list of conditions that vendors had to meet for their systems to be
> used in Nov. How much pushback have you received from the vendors and
> [what's the plan]?" Carrel simply said, "It's been tough to get them
> to agree... really tough. But they have all agreed and we're
> confident that everything will be in place for Nov. 2." I talked to
> him after the event and he said that, indeed, all 4 vendors (Sequoia,
> Diebold, ES&S and Hart) had all agreed to the 4 conditions in the
> SoS's order and that they would soon be issuing a quick RFP/RFB for
> the source code analysis work (unfortunately, only certain
> pre-qualified firms will be allowed to make proposals/bids).
> (However, talking to someone else after Carrel revealed that yes all 4
> vendors had agreed to meet the 4 terms of the order but that only one
> vendor had agreed to the source code transfer and analysis agreement.)
> Henry brady defined residual votes and explained that only 0.5% of the
> population intentionally undervotes. He also explained where his
> funding comes from (Kim Z. asked him directly to do so) and emphasized
> that his funding is independent from his results per agreement with
> the funders. He also mentioned a few things like how much the
> tabulation part of the machines-in-elections monster was being ignored
> (my wording to keep this interesting -jlh) and that DREs tend to do a
> very good job of counting votes (I'm still a skeptic... lots of
> examples of miscounts -jlh).
> David Dill answered a question, "Dr. Dill, is it true that you cannot
> for certain tell that the properly qualified and certified software is
> running on a given machine?" Dill said yes... even if the voting
> application software was bit-for-bit the same as the software binary
> qualified and certified, the machine has various layers of software,
> the operating system, which is not tested as it is COTS (commercial
> off the shelf), is still a large uncertainty and cause a slew of
> problems that could even be undetectable.
> I can't remember anything else... this will be broadcast at some point
> so listen to KALW in SF[1]Tuesdays at 1pm. It may show up here[2].
> [1]
> [2]
> --
> Joseph Lorenzo Hall
> UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
> blog:

Joseph Lorenzo Hall
UC Berkeley, SIMS PhD Student
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= quotations under fair use, are released to the Public Domain    
Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:45 2004

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