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ES&S in Hot Water; Diebold et al Continue to Look Bad

Dear Friends of Open Voting:

We don't necessarily enjoy seeing members of the voting system vendor cartel continue to take a public beating, but it doesn't hurt our case, either.

There is an HDNet report by Dan Rather that exposes misdeeds by ES&S, the largest voting system vendor in the US. The report reveals that the iVotronic touchscreen has been made in sweatshops in Manilla, with workers that earn $2.50 per day. As far as I can tell, HDNet is only broadcast on cable and satellite. The program It airs tonight at 8 and 11 Eastern, and it will also air Aug. 15, 17, & 23.

Bowen's Top-to-Bottom Review

Some results from this review were presented at the hearing at the California Secretary of State's office Monday, July 30. Glaring weaknesses in the technology we have bought from leading voting system vendors were exposed.

On Friday, Bowen will announce what she intends to do about it.

Here are some pictures Assembly member Krekorian

San Francisco or New York, which will be first with open source voting system?

San Francisco officials have voted several times in favor of open source where the issue has come up this year. Now, New York City has a proposal on the table which strongly favors open source for voting systems.

This resolution even goes so far as to quote Richard Johnson, CEO of Open Voting Solutions (and resident of NY). It looks like this is moving in the right direction. One-third of the City Council signed on as sponsors the day it was introduced. Congratulations to our friends in New York for getting this far with the idea.

Another Open Source Resolution Passed

Open Source Resolution Passed by the California Democratic Party Executive Board.

This is Great News and more evidence that the Open Voting idea is catching on. Thanks especially to Tom Gangale for pushing this forward.

Here is what the resolution says:

Supporting Open Source Software for Electronic Voting Machines

Video Clip From Red Hat

John Edwards Supports "Open Source" for Voting Systems

June 27, 2007

Alan Dechert, 916-772-5360
President, Open Voting Consortium
Reference: Letter from Edwards Campaign
9560 Windrose Lane, Granite Bay, CA 95746

Historic Decision by San Francisco Elections Commission Favoring Open Source Software for Elections

This is probably the biggest victory for the Open Voting movement so far. Last night, the San Francisco Elections Commission voted 6-1 to adopt a policy favoring the use of open source software in their voting systems, and, more generally, favoring the "maximum level of security and transparency possible consistent with the principles of public disclosure."

This was introduced by Commissioners Arnold Townsend and Victor Hwang. We congratulate them and all the other Commissioners for taking this bold step.

Here is the complete text of the general policy statement they passed:

Report From Red Hat Summit

I have returned from this 3-day conference with a new sense of optimism and hope. It was a great experience, and I thank all of you for helping to make OVC participation possible.

My keynote address on the morning of the first day was very well-received. It helped that the Red Hat CEO, Matthew Szulik, said some very nice things about the open voting project during his opening remarks. Everyone I met spoke very positively about the open voting project.

April 17 Victories for Open Voting

Our efforts to bring about transparency in the vote counting process were successful on two fronts -- San Francisco and Sacramento. AB 852 won the vote 5-2 in the Assembly elections committee. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted against buying a new Sequoia (with DRE) voting system, and decided to stay with the existing optical scan system with the AutoMARK ballot marking device.

Legislative Efforts Having Impact

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren with Alan Dechert at a meeting last week. Lofgren is chair of the House Administration sub-committee on elections.

OVC is promoting legislation at the federal, state, and local level, to bring about complete transparency in the administration of public elections. The sooner we eradicate secret vote counting methods the better!

During the House Administration hearings (sub-committee on elections, chaired by Lofgren) last month, four of the witnesses spoke primarily about open source. Several of the bills (including HR 811, topic of these hearings) introduced in Congress have technology disclosure language.

We've had a hand in getting changes in the bill language. More meetings are planned.

Last year, State Senator Bowen (now Secretary of State Bowen) congratulated me for pushing for the first ever hearing on open source software for elections. Now the subject is coming up regularly at the local and federal level too.

Last year we sponsored AB 2097, which was carried by Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg (Los Angeles). This year, Assemblymember Krekorian (Burbank) is determined to see his election reform bill passed. It is set to be heard in the Assembly elections committee next Tuesday (Apr 17). It is similar to AB 2097 and has a more gradual timetable for implementation.

Our efforts in San Francisco might be the most interesting yet. The impact of decisions there could be seen sooner than federal or state legislation. The Board of Supervisors' Budget & Finance committee refused to move on the pending Sequoia contract because they insisted on technology disclosure language.

Now, officials in San Francisco are looking at adopting policy and/or legislation that would require full public disclosure of all voting system technology. This Wednesday, (Apr 18), the Elections Commission will discuss a general policy statement on the subject.

Stay tuned as we move forward. Your attention and support will help ensure success.

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