The future of voting technologyAmong other things, OVC developed an open source ballot printer system ten years ago. We've changed, the world is changing. It's 2014: Now we trust our smartphones for banking, email, private messages, and many other functions. The California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO) just might make this work. See the video PSA narrated by the great Peter Coyote.
Recent News & Events
*Open Voting Consortium CEO to Keynote Red Hat Summit 2007*
Alan Dechert Joins the Growing Panel of Visionaries for the May
Conference in San Diego
RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), the world's leading
provider of open source solutions, today announced the co-founder,
president and CEO of the Open Voting Consortium, Alan Dechert will
keynote at the third annual Red Hat Summit in San Diego, Calif. The Red
Hat Summit will take place May 9-11, 2007 at the Sheraton San Diego
Hotel and Marina.
The Red Hat Summit 2007 will bring together partners and customers of
On Friday, January 19, San Francisco Director of Elections, John Arntz, issued a press release stating that they are establishing a task force one open source for the voting system. A week before that (Jan 12), OVC president, Alan Dechert, gave a presentation to the association of county election officials in California (CACEO). Here is the press release from Friday, followed by information about the CACEO presentation.
DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS TO ESTABLISH AN OPEN SOURCE VOTING SYSTEM TASK FORCE
DEPARTMENT OF ELECTIONS
Dear Friends of Open Voting:
As president of Open Voting Consortium, my job is to sell OPEN VOTING. What is it? And how do we get it?
The past eight days have been a great opportunity to get our message across to an important audience -- public officials at the state and federal level. I returned late last night (this morning, actually) from Minnesota after a meeting with Secretary of State Elect Mark Ritchie. On Friday, I was in Columbus Ohio for a meeting with Jennifer Brunner -- Secretary of State Elect of Ohio. Monday through Thursday of last week I met with staff members of U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives, as well as staff with the House Science committee and House Administration committee.
I explained to them that we will know we have OPEN VOTING when all voting technology and procedures are fully open to public scrutiny in a regular and systematic way -- no need to do public record requests or steal computer programming codes. If you want to have any of this information, it's yours instantly and free of charge. OPEN VOTING also means having an easily countable (and/or recountable) paper ballot. I explained the necessary steps to get there.
We still have a lot of work to do, but what a difference since Election Day! Our audiences are far more receptive than ever. This trip represents a quantum leap forward for OPEN VOTING.
Besides state and federal officials, we need to sell local officials as well as all our non-governmental target communities. More presentations are planned.
Without your help, there is no way I could even imagine doing such a thing. Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement.
"Open Voting Consortium is offering some real solutions to the problems we now have with proprietary voting systems. It's about time we get serious about supporting these initiatives." That's how Thomas Gangale, Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee member and author of the resolution put it.
Gangale adds, "There is no excuse for secret processes in the voting system. The public has an absolute right to know how our votes are processed. It's unfortunate that AB 2097, the bill sponsored by Open Voting Consortium -- carried by Assembly Member Jackie Goldberg of Los Angeles -- did not receive the necessary support to be signed into law this year. We want to make sure that OVC's new bill will have all the support needed."
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.
I will be talking about where we're at, and the Open Voting vision of what's possible for the future. How can we return the process to the people? What are we doing now and what do we plan to do? Are computers to be avoided, or are they key instruments for open government?
Mark Crispin Miller and Jim March are great speakers -- informative, inspirational, and entertaining. They will give the us the very latest insights. There will be a question and answer session after our presentations.
Here are the particulars: (also on this flyer).
Today I attended an incredible meeting  in the State House here in Maryland. In essence, the Governor of Maryland, Bob Ehrlich, had asked Linda Lamone (State Board of Elections Administrator) to appear before the Board of Public Works  to talk about the primary election fiasco. The meeting was a circus, with Ms. Lamone and Comptroller Schaefer giving the media more zingers than they could possibly process.
Lamone went through the litany of problems from last Tuesday: polls not opened on time, missing equipment, malfunctioning equipment, poll workers not showing up, etc. The new electronic poll books (Diebold) did not work correctly.
In a presentation last year, Lamone said "I am the boss. The buck stops with me. I'm the one that gets in trouble when anything happens." 
However, it's not so clear that Lamone was accepting responsibility for these problems. She would say things like, "I don't want to point fingers." Schaefer would then say, "I want to point fingers. I want to know who did this." Over and over Schaefer asked who was responsible. At one point he asked, "who did this?" Lamone answered, "the General Assembly." What she didn't say is that the General Assembly (they have a House of Delegates and a Senate) pretty much did everything she asked.
Not that this is a partisan issue -- nor should it be -- but when we see people critical of Diebold they tend to be on the left politically. In Maryland, the Republican Governor is highly critical of Diebold, while Diebold defenders are Democrats!
A bill this year that would have required paper ballots (the Diebold machines in MD are paperless) passed the House unanimously. Sheila Hixson, whom I met with on Monday, carried this bill. It was killed in the Senate (Democrats in charge).
It seems Diebold has their best sales people working Maryland. The electronic poll books were thought necessary when Maryland officials decided to enable early voting. But then the courts ruled against early voting. Diebold still got the e-poll books sold there, bugs and all.
Avi Rubin was also invited to testify. Avi began working at the polls in 2004. He was a highly credible witness and detailed how the electronic poll books would not remained synchronized for long (they're supposed to be able to indicate if someone has already voted ... that is, if the poll worker checks you in using one e-poll book, the other e-poll books are supposed to know so you can't go and check in elsewhere ... pretty basic database stuff that the new system couldn't handle). Avi also described the Princeton University hack where votes could be switched without detection.
Planning for my trip to Maryland has been in the works for some weeks now. I wanted to talk with officials in Maryland about a proposal to convert their paperless touch screen voting machines into ballot printers (like OVC demo), and to find out if we can get a legislator to carry a bill similar to our AB 2097, which would require full public disclosure of all voting technology. The primary election problems (primary was one week ago) became an added attraction -- and an added incentive to act.
I've already met with a few legislators and staff, as well as senior staff for the Governor and the Governor's November challenger, Martin O'Malley, Mayor of Baltimore.
I arrived 15 minutes early figuring that would be plenty of time. There were about 20 people waiting to get in. I was informed that the room was full and no one else could go in at this point. Joe Getty of the Governor's staff had suggested that I attend, so it occurred to me to mention that to the guard. He asked my name, and he said, "I'll ask." That worked, as Mr. Getty was just arriving.
The setting seemed anachronistic. It was held in the Governor's Reception room -- maybe 30 ft by 40 ft with high ceilings (maybe 20 ft) with Victorian woodwork and light fixtures. It was packed wall-to-wall with people. I counted 10 television cameras.
Governor Ehrlich was personable and careful. Even though he has sharp differences with Linda Lamone, he was polite and respectful.
The 84 year old Schaefer acted like a cranky old coot. He didn't care -- didn't have to. He spoke well of Treasurer Kopp, but derided most everyone else. At one point, he mimicked Governor Ehrlich shuffling papers. I could not believe what I was seeing. He is a few weeks away from the end of a long political career . He was governor for 8 years and has been a major figure in Maryland politics for longer than most of the people there have lived. Before the meeting, I didn't know Schaefer had been Governor. Lamone addressed him as "Governor." I thought she had just misspoke. But after she said that several times, I guessed that there was something to it. I looked him up after the meeting and learned of his background. What a character!
Maryland is at the far end (the dark one) of the spectrum when it comes to transparent verifiable elections. I have more meetings with officials in the works, and I will talk with a group of activists tomorrow evening. I think everyone is understanding that Maryland must transition away from paperless Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machines. I think they can also go for the completely public (open source) software.
How all of this happens remains to be seen. My visit here just might help things along a little bit.
Here's a flyer about it.
This will be one of the biggest events of its kind this year. Alan D.
"Trust us," they say. "You don't need all the details. We know what we're doing."
As you may know -- reported on CNN last month -- we have a Diebold TS paperless Direct Record Electronic (DRE) voting machine. We learned today that a group at Princeton has the same make and model. They have produced an elegant hack showing how votes could be stolen on such a system.
They developed working demonstrations of attacks that could be introduced and spread without detection. This is devastating news to die-hard supporters of Diebold paperless systems. Watch the video here. It's great!
Read the rest here:
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!