9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Subject: Vendor applies for certification with Open Voting Consortium
Contact: Alan Dechert
Phone (916) 791-0456
GRANITE BAY, CALIFORNIA - Open Voting Solutions, Inc., a Delaware corporation, has become the first voting system vendor to apply for certification with Open Voting Consortium, a California nonprofit corporation. While many independent experts have advocated open source software for election systems, no such products have been sold by voting system vendors. Companies like Diebold prefer to keep the inner workings of their systems confidential.
"There is no excuse for any secret methods to be involved in the tabulation of our votes," says Alan Dechert, President of the Open Voting Consortium. "It's about time that voting system technology be fully open to public scrutiny. We expect that Open Voting Solutions' OpenScan product will become the first commercially available Open Voting system."
Open Voting Solutions CEO, Dr. Richard Johnson, wrote to Mr. Dechert requesting that testing and evaluation be done by Open Voting Consortium (OVC) scientists and engineers. Dechert explains, "This is new, so all the details have not been finalized. Generally speaking, a voting system can earn the OVC service mark if it utilizes a voter verified paper ballot and all software written for the voting process is published for all to see."
Open Voting Solutions has submitted their OpenScan product to the State of New York for certification. The New York City board of elections has also requested information on the OpenScan product. With the OpenScan system, hand marked paper ballots are fed into a commercially available scanner such as the Kodak i40 scanner. The pictures of the ballots are then processed with free open source software running on ordinary computers to determine votes cast. Open Source means that the instructions, written by computer programmers in a computer programming language, are publicly available.
"We are looking forward to obtaining the approval and feel that being the only vendor with an Open Voting Consortium compliant product will be a significant advantage. It says a lot about our commitment to making this public process fully public and keeping costs down," says Dr. Johnson.
OVC certification will be a two-stage process. Earning the OVC service mark is not a very involved process and should not take more than a week or two. The OVC service mark does not ensure that the system is glitch-free: it indicates that the vote tabulation process is fully open to public scrutiny and verification. The second part of the process will look for glitches or software bugs in the system.
Dechert continues, "OVC certification is not yet recognized by election boards around the country. We think OVC certification will be compelling because it's the only voting system certification process where everything we do will be published. Right now, the process is a big secret with existing test labs and vendors. We know they miss a lot of things, but we really don't have any way of knowing what tests were run. You'd think that almost six years after the election mess in 2000, the system would have been corrected. It's time to make some important changes."
Open Voting Solutions was co-founded in 2005 by David Webber of Maryland and Richard Johnson of New York. Open Voting Consortium was co-founded in 2003 by Alan Dechert, Doug Jones of the University of Iowa, and Arthur Keller of UC Santa Cruz.