. Open Voting Consortium

Secretary of State knew of problems with ES&S electronic voting machines

From: Senator Debra Bowen's Office

Contact: Evan Goldberg (916) 651-4028

SACRAMENTO – “The fact that we’re only learning about this more than a month after it happened is as outrageous as it is unacceptable. You don’t build people’s confidence in the voting systems you’re asking them to use by refusing to talk about the problems with the machines in public. I don’t know why the Secretary of State is so intent on keeping all of the problems with these machines a secret, but California voters deserve better.”

That was how Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee, reacted to a report from the Associated Press today that it had uncovered a letter from the California Secretary of State’s office sent shortly after the November 2005 special election disclosing problems with the Elections Systems & Software (ES&S) voting machines used in that election.

Errors lead California officials to warn voting-machine company

JULIET WILLIAMS
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO - California election officials have told one of the country's largest manufacturers of voting machines to repair its software after problems with vote counts and verification surfaced during California's November special election.

In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Secretary of State for Elections Bradley J. Clark threatened to start the process of decertifying Election Systems and Software machines for use in California if senior officials didn't address the concerns immediately.

"The California Secretary of State is deeply concerned about problems experienced by counties utilizing ES&S voting equipment and software," Clark wrote in a letter addressed to company president Aldo Tesi nine days after the Nov. 8 election.

Diebold Hack Hints at Wider Flaws

By Kim Zetter
Wired News

Election officials spooked by tampering in a test last week of Diebold optical-scan voting machines should be equally wary of optical-scan equipment produced by other manufacturers, according to a computer scientist who conducted the test.

Election officials in Florida's Leon County, where the test occurred, promptly announced plans to drop Diebold machines in favor of optical-scan machines made by Election Systems & Software, or ES&S. But Hugh Thompson, an adjunct computer science professor at the Florida Institute of Technology who helped devise last week's test, believes other systems could also be vulnerable.

Secretary of State punts question of re-certifying Diebold machines

From: Senator Debra Bowen's Office

Contact: Evan Goldberg (916) 651-4028

SACRAMENTO – “The Secretary of State shouldn’t punt the decision about whether Diebold machines should be used to count ballots in California to the federal government and ‘independent’ testing authorities that are financed by the voting machine vendors. That decision needs to be made in the open, right here in California.”

That’s how Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment, & Constitutional Amendments Committee, reacted to today’s decision by the Secretary of State to send Diebold to the federal government and the Independent Testing Authorities for more information before deciding whether to re-certify the company’s touch-screen machines for use here in California.

Voting Machines Rejected

By Juliet Williams
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SACRAMENTO - Secretary of State Bruce McPherson on Tuesday told electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Election Systems that it must submit two of its machines for more rigorous federal testing before they can be certified in California.

The memory cards on the systems have "unresolved significant security concerns," according to a letter sent to Diebold Tuesday from McPherson's elections chief, Caren Daniels-Meade.

She asked the company to submit source coding, or program instructions, for the machines to federal investigators.

The problems were discovered during routine testing of the machines by state employees and independent consultants, said Secretary of State spokeswoman Jennifer Kerns. She said each system approved for use in California must meet 10 security requirements, and the Diebold machines did not meet one of those standards.

Accountability

By Susan Jameson
Granite Bay View

Ah, the dangling chad.

Who'd have thought that a system implemented in the 1960s could cause so many problems in the 2000 national election and subsequent laws and resolutions, including the Help America Vote Act of 2002?

Perhaps Granite Bay programmer Alan Dechert, co-founder and president of the Open Voting Consortium (OVC). The group of citizens and master programmers is dedicated to voting transparency by developing, maintaining and delivering accurate and verifiable open-source software to be used in public voting.

According to Dechert, the problems that drew national attention in the 2000 election were bound to happen, but worse has been the nation's answer to that problem - the direct recording electronic (DRE) paperless voting machine.

SB370 Signed Into Law

From: Senator Debra Bowen's Office

Contact: Evan Goldberg (916) 651-4028

SACRAMENTO – “People need and deserve to know their votes have been counted accurately, and the best way to ensure that happens is to use the paper printout that the voter has already verified as being accurate and check it against the results tallied by the electronic machine.”

That’s how Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach), the chairwoman of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee responded to the Governor’s decision to sign SB 370 into law tonight.

“This isn’t complicated, either you care about whether the election results are accurate or you don’t,” said Bowen. “I don’t see how the Secretary of State, who led the opposition to the bill, could say with straight face that he’s for fair elections, he’s for having a paper trail on electronic voting machines, yet he’s against using that paper trail to ensure the accuracy of the vote count.”

OVC Cited in Recent GAO Report on Security in Electronic Voting Systems

From: Open Voting Consortium

The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) issued their report (GAO-05-956) to Congress on the security of electronic voting systems.

Generally, it's a good report and we're pleased to see it. It affirms that there is a lot of work needed to improve the voting system, and OVC is recognized as working to "Improve Voting System Security and Reliability."

On the down side, the lack of transparency is not seen as a major problem in the report. However, the GAO defers to the EAC for immediate action on standards to improve the current election systems.

The GAO report says Open Voting Consortium, "Developed a prototype for an open-source electronic voting application that uses commercial hardware and operating system components and provides (1) an electronic voting machine that prints a paper ballot, (2) a ballot verification station that scans the paper ballot and lets a voter hear the selections, and (3) an application to tally the paper ballots."

Voting Software Open Test Now Law in Illinois Could Set Precedent

From: Open Voting Consortium (Alan Dechert)

A bill that requires that "all test plans, test results, documentation, and other records used to plan, execute, record the results of the testing and verification" was signed into law on AUG 22nd by Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich (Dem).

OVC supporters in Illinois have already made requests for the URL where they can download the materials.

The part of interest to Open Voting is a just a few lines -- but potentially very powerful. The relevant section of HB1968 is on page 186, lines 19 through 25, and it reads as follows:

19 All test plans, test results,

WikiFund Launched -- OVC One of the Projects to be Funded

The next Revolution will be Economic…

And we’ve just seen the 2005 Molotov Cocktail deluxe. Masquerading as a low key fundraising website, Wikifund.org puts some serious fiscal firepower in the hands of us average folk. The first thing you notice when browsing the site is the number of zeroes. There are some big projects being funded, some of which could affect the course of entire countries. For example, the Open Voting project: Wikifund has teamed with the Open Voting Consortium (http://openvoting.org) to get a secure, verifiable, open source voting system nationally certified. The cost? A cool million in software development, testing, and certification fees. The ramifications of this project are huge. Not only would it restore confidence in our democratic system, but it would actually save taxpayers billions in equipment cost alone. Why? Aside from being completely free (BSD Licensing), the software would run on any platform, making it possible to use use commonly available hardware. Not only that, but it would be practical to manufacture dedicated hardware for a fraction of the $3000+ companies like Diebold are charging.

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