. OVC Demo Gaining Exposure | Open Voting Consortium

OVC Demo Gaining Exposure

Every day, more and more people are getting a look at OVC's voting machine on a disk. We want to get our latest disk -- released today -- into the hands of as many people as possible.

Please read my previous article about it. We have added a few features including the tabulation program. As before, you can download the disk or request a copy. Also, we will be handing out copies in person to interested parties.

Here are a few notes on this release:

  • The disk works with PCs that have at least 384 megabytes of RAM (need to be able to boot from CD drive; no hard drive required). We are working on a disk that will boot on Macs ... this should be ready soon.
  • Connect a printer to the PC after the system completes booting up.
  • The general idea is to start the EVM program (see icon on the desktop) and print out a few ballots. Press the Esc key when you have a few printed. Then run the tabulation program.
  • There are several new icons on the desktop. The one labeled "barcodes" contains the strings of characters encoded in the barcodes on the ballots. Since you may not have a 2-d barcode scanner handy, you can try out the tabulation program by cutting-and-pasting these strings into the entryfields when prompted to scan a barcode.
  • ABOUT THE SECURITY CODES
    We have to have a way to prove that the ballots were produced on one of the voting machines when voting was happening. Initially, I thought of having some security code that would be manually entered. Then I decided it would be better to have that machine-generated at the time the voting station is started. No one will know the security codes (each machine will generate its own unique one -- MD5 hash on log files) until some time after the polls close. The way the tabulation program learns the security codes is to scan a test ballot from each voting machine.

    So, we envision that when the machines are started, a test ballot (or more than one if necessary) would be printed on each machine. The test ballots would be written on (say "test ballot by so and so") and sealed in an envelope and put in the ballot box. So, the first thing to do when the ballot box is opened will be to remove the envelope with the test ballots so that the tabulation program will register the security codes. The tabulation program will only count a ballot if it has a valid security code.

Thanks again to Jan Karrman for making this happen. Also, thanks to Stephanie Fox, who wrote the tabulation program. This is Stephanie's first code contibution to the OVC system.

I think this disk marks a major milestone for OVC. We might just change some minds about how to efficiently use resources to implement a secure and reliable voting system.

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Nancy Matela
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