Irwin Mann described Open Voting Systems in 1993:
I found out that, at the time, the powers that be in CA State Government were set on having a paperless touchscreen voting machine in every voting booth in the state. As a programmer that knows the kinds of tricks programmers can play, I understood this was a very bad idea and spent a tremendous amount of time in 2001 explaining the perils of paperless voting to election officials and elected officials.
I partnered with Henry Brady of UC Berkeley on this proposal: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/src-proposal.pdf
After years of failing at trying to get funding for our voting system development project, I got a team of scientists and engineers to just start doing the development on a volunteer basis. We started demonstrating our work in October of 2003, and formally organized Open Voting Consortium shortly after that. The first major demo of our four open source applications was April 1, 2004.
This editorial in the Mercury News came out a week after that, http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/sjmerc0408.pdf
We got good coverage in the media coast-to-coast on Apr 1. There were great articles in the Seattle Times, NY Times, Baltimore Sun and others.
Balt. Sun APR 1 article: http://www.dalelane.co.uk/cache/ovc_news4.htm
The follow up Mercury News editorial (Apr 8 cited above) was re-printed in many papers, including the Washington Post and several mid-West papers. The Apr 1 event was also covered by local TV (ABC News) and radio (CBS).
We achieved the desired impact.
We gained a lot of awareness and support for the OVC project: many new subscribers to our email lists (especially announcements lists: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/list/ovcannouncement/ discussion list: http://gnosis.python-hosting.com/voting-project/ ) and more contributors -- volunteers and donors.
This article describes the OVC project as of about a year ago: http://www.granitebayview.com/article/2005/11/386
In 2005, we provided quite a bit of data for the GAO report. We were cited in the report as a key initiative of non-governmental groups working to make the voting system more secure and reliable: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/gao-p51.pdf
Since then, we turned to Debra Bowen. In 2004, we got a resolution passed (ACR 242) in the CA state legislature asking the Secretary of State to investigate using open source software in election systems, and issue a report on that by Jan 1, 2006. After McPherson was appointed in Spring of 2005, we reminded him of the report and asked him to hold public hearings on the topic. He seemed agreeable. Here's a letter from him to an OVC supporter:
Later in September, McPherson backed off. In October, we asked Bowen, chair of the Senate Elections committee and candidate for Secretary of State, to hold hearings on open source software for elections. We also urged her to hold hearings on the testing and certification process. She responded. The open source hearing was on Feb 8th, and the first hearing on testing and certification was the following week. Bowen Letter to me: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/bowen-296.pdf
In the mean time, we sponsored AB 2097 (Goldberg, Los Angeles) -- a bill that would have required all voting technology to be open to public inspection. http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/05-06/bill/asm/ab_2051-2100/ab_2097_bill_20060504_amended_asm.pdf
Won 5-0 in Assembly Elections committee last April: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/blog/2006-apr-26/no_opposition
McPherson led opposition. His letter from day before suspense hearing: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/sos-opposition-letter524.pdf
My response: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/OVC2SOS-525.pdf
FORTUNE article on Diebold: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/fortune11-3.pdf
Another reason they may not want Diebold in the elections business. Listen to this http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/Bowen-excerpt.mp3 Then realize the woman saying this was just elected California Secretary of State.
Oakland Trib on Sequoia http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/trib12-22.pdf
Here's the 11-page IBM presentation I often use: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/ibm-oss.pdf