Fw: answers

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Jul 29 2003 - 17:07:04 CDT

- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan Dechert" <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
To: "yu wang" <xinxin_2000@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, July 28, 2003 5:44 PM
Subject: answers
Message-ID: <6852@initial.digest>

> Dear Adrianne:
>
> Here are some answers. You can cut and paste this. You can mention that
> Alan Dechert, the project developer, assisted you with this response.
>
> > 1. How will this voting system differ from others available now?
> >
> a. Typical PC based systems are packaged into what are
> called DREs (Direct Record Electronic) offered by vendors
> such as ES&S, Sequoia, and Diebold cost $3,000 - $4,000.
> Our system will be offered by PC remarketers such as
> ISIS technology for a fraction of the cost.
> b. Our system will provide a voter-verified paper printout
> recommended by Professor David Dill of Stanford (for
> example, see http://www.verifiedvoting.org/index.asp )
> The most common PC based systems are paperless with
> dubious security features. One of our team members,
> discussed Diebold security problems in a NYT article 7/24/03
> http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/24/technology/24VOTE.html
> c. Our system will be entirely open, with all components open
> to public inspection and debate. Other electronic systems
> rely on security through obscurity.
> d. Our system is the only system back by Roy Saltman, the
> author of the best known books on voting technology. Mr.
> Saltman was widely quoted in 2000 since he had warned
> of the problems with pre-scored punch cards in a 1988
> paper. Other top voting technology experts involved in
> our project include Professor Doug Jones of U of Iowa
> and Professor Henry Brady of UC Berkeley. Other
> prominent academic lawyers, political scientists, computer
> scientists, and economists from many of the top universities
> around the country have expressed interest in participating
> in the eventual full blown study (that will follow the demo
> that we are currently working on). The universities
> represented so far include U of Iowa, Stevens Technical
> Institute, New York University, Stanford, U Mass (Amherst),
> and several UC campuses (UCSD, UCSC, and UCB).
> e. Our system will employ large monitors (1280 x 1024
> resolution) so that page turns can be minimized in
> accordance with new Federal guidlines for voting systems.
> See, for example, C.2 General Principles here:
> http://www.fec.gov/pages/vssfinal/v1/v1ac.doc
>
> "The design should minimize voter inputs,
> e.g., don't add unnecessary steps, minimize
> need to turn pages, and to navigate displays;
>
> Other electronic system tend to require many navigation
> steps to get through a normal-sized ballot.
> f. Our system is the only voting system development project
> recommended for public funding by the State of California
> Senate Elections Committee. e.g., see this letter:
> http://home.earthlink.net/~adechert/perata3.jpg
> g. While the Australian Capital Territory (state the includes
> Canberra, the Capital of Australia) commissioned the
> development of an open source PC based system
> http://www.softimp.com.au/evacs.html The Aussie system
> is also designed to run on commodity PCs, their system
> has several drawbacks compared to ours:
> - They provide no voter-verified printout
> - The PCs are locally networked, complicating set up
> and raising several security issues we avoid
> Our poll site system is designed to be standalone.
> h. While "Caltech and MIT Join Forces to Create Reliable,
> Uniform Voting System" 12/14/00. And "The presidents
> of MIT and Caltech have announced a collaborative
> project to develop an easy-to-use, reliable, affordable
> and secure United States voting machine.." They also
> said that, "America needs a uniform balloting procedure."
> The fact is that in over 2.5 years they never delivered on
> this promised. They made many mistakes including
> trying to work with election system vendors that never
> wanted to embrace the idea of a uniform system. Our
> team is the only one that has described in detail, logically,
> how a uniform system may be achieved and how it can
> work.
>
> > 2. What are the primary features of this voting system?
> >
> a. The PC will produce a paper ballot which the voter verifies
> and drops in the ballot box.
> b. As with PC based DRE machines, our system will enable
> blind voters to cast their vote without assistance (by using
> headphones, they will be able to listen to voice prompts
> in indicate their preferences with a hand-held device.
> c. We will eventually provide all the software for election
> administration (for ballot preparation, tabulation, voter file
> maintenance, etc) besides the voting machine software.
> d. Our project, if successful, will lead to a uniform, reliable,
> inexpensive voting system. Our system will include
> software for Remote Attended Internet Voting that will
> replace existing error and fraud prone absentee and
> provisional voting systems. The ballot produced by the
> Remote Attended Internet Voting (RAIV) software will
> look exactly like the poll site ballot. The electronic
> ballot image from the RAIV system will be exactly the
> same as the poll site system. The voter using the RAIV
> system will see the same ballot on the screen as the
> poll site voters.
> e. Our full study will include the development of an Election
> Rules Database, which will document all existing rules
> in use in all jurisdictions (2,219 counties, 50 state, 4
> territories) as well as applicable Federal laws and
> guidelines. It is widely expected that this database will
> surface many gaps, conflicts, and other problems. This
> will be an important step toward dealing with this
> vast number of issues.
> h. Our system will be designed to easily handle various
> scoring methods such as Instant Runoff Voting (in its
> various forms).
> i. Like DREs, our system will easily accommodate any
> variety of languages.
> j. It is designed with the needs and wants of the voter in
> mind foremost. Voting should be easy and quick with
> no doubts about "voter intent" and no doubts about the
> integrity of the tabulation. And, the voting system should
> not put an undue burden on taxpayers. We should be able
> to utilize cheap trailing edge PCs so that we wind up with
> an efficient use of public resources (contrary to current plans
> which may result in skyrocketing cost of election administration).
> k. Our system should be easily adapable for other countries. While
> DREs also handle multiple languages and scoring methods
> easily, they are too expensive for emerging democracies. China,
> India, and many other countries are experimenting with
> electronic voting. Other systems are just too expensive for
> these societies. Our system will be affordable for every
> country with an appreciable number of PCs available.
>
> For more details on the proposal, see:
> http://home.earthlink.net/~adechert/ucvs-proposal.rtf
>
> More background information about the project can be found here:
> http://home.earthlink.net/~adechert
>
> > 3. Is python the only language that will be used for the
> > project or will there be others?
> >
> Python will be used for the demo. Some modules may be
> coded with C or C++. The language for the eventual
> finished product will probably be C or C++, TBD.
>
> > 4. What platforms will this system run on?
> >
> PCs. It will be up to vendors working with county
> election officials to determine the make/model of
> PCs and printers. It will run fine on trailing edge PCs
> 300 - 400 MHz, so most any PCs will do. The
> system will be demo-ed with a 17 in. flat panel
> touch screen monitor at 1280 x 1024 resolution.
>
> > 5. What is your target audience?
> >
> Our project proposal is well known to virtually all
> voting technology experts and leading election officials in
> the United States. Many of them want to see our software
> developed as soon as possible. The demo will be set up
> at a news conference probably in Palo Alto CA within a few
> weeks. We will also set up the demo in the State Capital
> Building. A web based version of the demo will be hosted
> at UC Santa Cruz, and will be available to anyone with
> access to the Internet for try-out. The evenutal owner of the
> software will probably be the University of California (we're
> also talking to Benetech ( www.benetech.org ) about
> possible ownership. The software will be available to all
> jurisdictions in the United States probably within about one
> year (certification proces will take a few months).
>
> -- Alan Dechert
>
>
Received on Tue, 29 Jul 2003 15:07:04 -0700

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