Re: Voting System Standards

From: Douglas W_dot_ Jones <jones_at_cs_dot_uiowa_dot_edu>
Date: Sun Jul 27 2003 - 16:22:34 CDT

> Doug, I'm not sure how much of this is relevant to the demo. Our
> system is
> really a hybrid, which involves issues not specific to any of the
> systems
> discussed.

I certainly didn't want to imply that the Federal standards are good
ones! There are lots of holes in them. On the other hand, they
include lots of useful stuff -- handicapped accessibility rules,
etc.

> For example, strictly speaking, this voting machine is NOT a DRE.

Indeed, your system, and for that matter, the Populex system and the
Avante system, both of which print "receipts" that serve, legally,
as ballots, are not, strictly speaking, DRE systems.

But, they will be evaluated as such by all who see them, including
the eventual source code auditors at the independent testing
authority. Legalistic wrangling won't convince anyone that it
shouldn't be evaluated that way! Certainly, all the user interface
components will be seen that way, and your machine must retain
electronic images of the ballots as well as printing them out --
so in effect, it will meet the redundant storage requirement for DRE
machines by producing one paper copy and one electronic copy of
each ballot.

> 4.2.1 Selection of Programming Languages
> Software associated with the logical and numerical operations of
> vote
> data shall
> use a high-level programming language, such as: Pascal, Visual
> Basic,
> Java, C and C++.
>
> They lump VB in with C as a "high-level programming language."

No kidding. But I'm not here to recommend these as good standards,
just to recommend that everyone who develops voting systems be aware
of them. They have their good elements, and as you've noticed,
they have laughable ones. Sadly, some of these bad elements are
being preserved in the IEEE draft standard I just read.

                        Doug Jones
                        jones2cs.uiowa.edu
Received on Sun, 27 Jul 2003 16:22:34 -0500

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