Re: Is Open Source Enough?

From: Arthur Keller <voting_at_kellers_dot_org>
Date: Tue Sep 04 2007 - 01:27:25 CDT

Thanks, Teresa, for your message.

There is a long and dishonorable history of fraud from hand-counted
paper ballots. So hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots are NOT a

I do believe that it is possible to design a system relying on the
proper combination of people and computers that is more reliable than
one that relies on people alone or computers alone. I also believe
that it is possible to design a system that is more inherently secure
and can withstand audits better than a hand-counted paper ballot
system and far better than the systems we have today.

You, Teresa, cannot be there to count all 100+ millions cast in a
Presidential election. You have to rely on others to ensure that
batches of the ballots are counted accurately and that those batches
are combined accurately. With hand-counted paper ballots, only a
small number of people in a precinct can ensure that a particular
precinct is counted accurately. I would like a system in which
anyone can audit and recount a precinct. Would that be preferable?
I think so.

Best regards,

At 10:16 PM -0500 9/3/07, Teresa Hommel wrote:
>Remember the "Ain't I a Woman" speech of Sojourner Truth?
>Below is a copy, in case you don't recall it.
>It came to my mind as I read your discussion of members of the
>public inspecting software.
>I thought, ain't I a member of the public? But I don't want to
>inspect software to figure out if elections are honest and properly
>Elections are about votes and ballots, and I want to observe my own
>votes on my own hand-marked ballot, and observe the handling of the
>ballots once they are cast.
>Instead of spending the rest of my life reading 50,000 lines of bad
>code, which is what it would take me, I would rather spend one or
>two days per election watching the ballots and vote-counting with my
>Teresa Hommel
>Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain't I A Woman?
>Delivered 1851
>Women's Convention, Akron, Ohio
>Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be
>something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the
>South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the
>white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here
>talking about?
>That man over there says that women need to be helped into
>carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place
>everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over
>mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look
>at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered
>into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could
>work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and
>bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen
>children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried
>out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a
>Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call
>it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey.
>What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my
>cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be
>mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
>Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as
>much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your
>Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a
>woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
>If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world
>upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn
>it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to
>do it, the men better let them.
>Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got
>nothing more to say.

Arthur M. Keller, Ph.D., 3881 Corina Way, Palo Alto, CA  94303-4507
tel +1(650)424-0202, fax +1(650)424-0424

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Received on Sun Sep 30 23:17:04 2007

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