Eva Jefferson Paterson has campaigned for civil rights with passion, courage and tenacity for more than three decades.
Paterson is the President and a founder of the Equal Justice Society, a national organization dedicated to changing the law through progressive legal theory, public policy and practice.
Prior to taking the helm of the Equal Justice Society in 2003, Paterson worked at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights for twenty-six years, thirteen of them as Executive Director. Paterson led the organization's work providing free legal services to low-income individuals, litigating class action civil rights cases, and advocating for social justice. At the Lawyers' Committee, she was part of a broad coalition that filed the groundbreaking anti-discrimination suit against race and gender discrimination by the San Francisco Fire Department. That lawsuit successfully desegregated the department, winning new opportunities for women and minority firefighters.
Ion Sancho, Election Commissioner, Leon County, Florida
The Florida 2000 election has changed our national electoral landscape forever. As more of our citizens demand proof that their votes are being counted properly, election officials are being challenged to show the public our election procedures and technologies are open and verifiable. Our reliance on complex technology to conduct elections only adds to our responsibility to provide a transparent process assuring Americans that their public interests are being served. Secret source codes, controlled by private parties and not accessible to the public, will only fuel the growing public skepticism over the integrity of our elections. We don't need any more promises of "just trust us", we need action, we need transparency, and we need it now! Secrecy only serves the interests of the inept or the corrupt. Fair and open elections in the twenty first century requires more, not less, transparency if our goal is to increase the public confidence in our elections.
Brian D. Newby, Election Commissioner, Johnson County, Kansas
I think we have to realize a vision where elections software is ubiquitous and interoperable between hardware vendors. Voting equipment providers today utilize proprietary software, effectively locking in the vendor for the foreseeable future. As communities grow their fleets of voting machines, replacing an entire fleet at once will be cost-prohibitive and utilizing two different systems is operationally restrictive. Thus, the ability to place systems out for re-bid is compromised. Without any realistic threat of being unseated as a provider of choice, even the best vendors will be less aggressive in developing system enhancements and will have a captive market for potential support price increases that will continue to drive up the cost of elections. Without ubiquitous software, I believe the long-term costs of elections will be increasing greatly, and most Americans, as well as policy makers, are unaware of the potential for impending increases.
Maxine Waters, U.S. Congress
Maxine Waters has served eight terms as the Congressional Reperesentative of the 35th Congessional District, which covers South Central Los Angeles and surrounding areas. She is a champion of election reform and was appointed as chair the Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Election Reform. Maxine favors the Open Voting Consortium approach because it provides a paper trail and accountability.
Dennis Kucinich, U.S. Congress
The important work of the Open Voting Consortium
October 16, 2007
Democracy today is at risk by the very instrument that seeks to uphold it. Electronic voting machines with proprietary software, meager security, significant technical flaws and lack of voter verification procedures threaten to undermine our voting rights and thus the reliability of the election process. These voting machines are being marketed by for-profit companies and bought by states, counties and municipalities at an alarming rate. We cannot wait for Congress to pass legislation to address this danger. We, the people, must take action NOW to ensure the accuracy and integrity of upcoming elections.
Election integrity cannot be assured without openness and transparency. Using proprietary electronic voting machines to conduct elections is dangerous to democracy because there is no way of ensuring their accuracy. It is imperative that there be a required voter-verified paper trail for every election so that any errors and irregularities caused by the voting machines can be discovered.
With the so-called “Direct Recording Electronic” computer technology in use, there is constant risk of a program flaw — or worse, tampering with the software, which could change votes and thus change the outcome of elections. Without a “voter verified audit trail,” meaning a permanent record of each vote that the voter can check to verify that it represents his or her intent, these changes might never be detected.
Recent studies have reported numerous very serious technical flaws in electronic voting machines, including allowing a person to: vote more than once, see ballots that have been cast on a machine, change party affiliation on ballots, alter the counting of votes, modify, create or even delete votes inside the voting machines and interfere with audit logs and election results. Their analysis shows that the voting system is far below even the most minimal security standards, placing our future elections at risk to both insider and outsider attacks.
While I believe the most dependable and failsafe method of voting is to use hand-marked and hand-counted paper ballots, I understand that the method of voting is a local decision, and that many jurisdictions are choosing to use some form of electronic voting system.
As such, and I support and endorse the work of the Open Voting Consortium in its attempts to develop a voting system that uses standard, non-networked computers and printers running open-source, public domain, independently verifiable software to produce a standardized, permanent, paper ballot that the voter can personally verify before having it optically scanned. Under the Open Voting Consortium system, once scanned the paper ballot would be securely held and be available for hand inspection and counting.
Thus the Open Voting Consortium proposal would provide a voting system that:
- Stops Secrecy in Vote Tabulation
- Provides a Voter-verifiable Paper Trail
- Is Scientifically Verifiable at all stages
- Saves Money:
- Provides for Multi-lingual, Handicap Accessible Voting:
- Can be deployed on non-networked, locked down, standardized personal computers and printers.
Medea Benjamin, Global Exchange and Code Pink
Medea Benjamin is a well known San Francisco Bay Area progressive who has supported human rights and social justice struggles around the world. She is a leading activist in the peace movement and helped bring together the groups forming the coalition United for Peace and Justice. She is also a co-founder off Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, a women's group that has been organizing creative actions against the war and occupation of Iraq. Media is very concerned about the election system in the U.S. and supports the Open Voting Consortium solution.
Penny Little, Video Producer
Penny Little is a video producer with People to People TV and the maker of the film Electile Dysfunction, which is a 56 minute documentary that explores the story behind the scenes of the November 2004 Presidential election, showing a complicated and technical subject in lively montage style, interviews interlaced with dark humor, short animations and musical interludes. Penny favors Open Voting and the Open Voting Consortium’s system is mentioned in the “solutions” part of Little’s film.
David Cobb, Green Party leader
David Keith Cobb (born December 24, 1962 in San Leon, Texas) is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States (GPUS).
After working as a crewman on a Gulf Coast shrimp boat, a construction worker and a waiter, Cobb graduated from the University of Houston Law School in 1993 and for several years maintained a successful private practice as an attorney in Houston, Texas. During the 1980s, Cobb had campaigned for the Democratic Presidential candidacies of Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown. As a result of his experiences, however, Cobb became disenchanted with the Democratic Party and declined to campaign for them any further. Instead, he turned his activism to the issues of democracy and corporations, appearing at lectures, seminars, and workshops throughout the U.S. with various citizens' groups to promote his view that corporations have become unelected governing institutions and that a nonviolent democratic revolution is needed in response.
Kathy Dopp, U.S. Count Votes
Kathy Dopp is the founder and President of US Count Votes, Election Data Archive, an organization formed to investigate the accuracy of our elections. Kathy works tirelessly to reform the electoral system, including sponsoring statistical analysis of exit polls that show conclusively that the Ohio Presidential election of 2004 should have been awarded to Kerry (See Problems page). About OVC: "It is the best system I have ever seen! This system has so many safe guards."
Dr. Curtis Ganns, Committee for the Study of the American Electorate
Dr. Curtis Gans is the vice president and founding director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate in Washington, D.C. He founded the non-profit, non-partisan research organization twenty-five years ago. Of OVC he says "Your method does, I believe, make possible a verifiable and user friendly system cheaply."
Nancy Matela, Alliance for Democracy (National Chair of Election Reform Committee)
Nancy is the National Chair of Election Reform for the Alliance for Democracy and the Oregon Voter Rights Coalition. The latter was formed to restore public ownership and oversight of elections, and to ensure the fundamental right of every American citizen to vote and to have each vote counted as intended in a secure, transparent, impartial, and independently audited election process. She supports the Open Voting Consortium in their mission to prgram open source software and to devise election safeguards like paper ballots with bar codes.
Rob Richie, Executive Director, FairVote
We applaud efforts toward providing transparency in elections and support the pioneering vision of groups like the Open Voting Consortium and Open Voting Solutions in seeking that goal. The public must have confidence in their elections, and open source software is an obvious demand for ensuring that trust.
OVC Founding MembersJeff Almeida
Lori Flynn, Ph.D.
Jean-Paul Gignac, Developer
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Jan Kärrman, Developer
Eron Lloyd, Developer
Fred McLain, Development Lead for prototype
Anand Pillai, Developer
Eric A. Smith
Charlie Strauss, Ph.D., Los Alamos Computer Scientist
Arnold B. Urken, Ph.D.