Saturday, September 18, 2004

Voting Machines and Software

The latest edition of Scientific American has an excellent article.

Also - the resource site here is very instructive:


This is roughly in alignment with my own ideas for breaking the empasse that currently exists - and this is just a microcosm of what ails the software industry generally.

I have been trying to get peoples attention to the notion of using open-source voting software as the means to drive transparency in e-Voting processes.

My thoughts are that having an open e-Voting software code-based that is community developed and maintained achieves several things.
  1. produces an open public specification for the software process, the hardware interfaces, and the results auditing and authentication steps that can be independently verified.
  2. prevents reliance on proprietary vendor software - and therefore allows a wide range of hardware vendors to deliver solutions that are capatible - thus removing reliance on single supplier.
  3. ensures that software being used has underwent an open validation process.
  4. allows verification of the software used to obtain and compile the results using open testing procedures
  5. allows use of a double-blind check - where output from one set of hardware being used by the voter - is feed into two independant solutions - and then both must tally at close of voting.
  6. verification that the actual software used is the same as the open standard, (ensure what is loaded onto the machine at open of polling - and verify it is still there during and after).

I have not seen any discussion of this approach - and I do believe we need to move to open solutions and processes for this.

There are several good national standards bodies that could collaborate to jointly develop such a software specification and solution.

Clearly more debate and research on this is all excellent.


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