October 16, 2006

Via David Cobb:

>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.
>”There is no excuse for any secret methods to be involved in the
>tabulation of our votes,” says Alan Dechert, President of the Open
>Voting Consortium. “It’s about time that voting system technology
>be fully open to public scrutiny. We expect that Open Voting
>Solutions’ OpenScan product will become the first commercially
>available Open Voting system.”
>Open Voting Solutions CEO, Dr. Richard Johnson, wrote to Mr. Dechert
>requesting that testing and evaluation be done by Open Voting
>Consortium (OVC) scientists and engineers. Dechert explains, “This
>is new, so all the details have not been finalized. Generally
>speaking, a voting system can earn the OVC service mark if it
>utilizes a voter verified paper ballot and all software written for
>the voting process is published for all to see.”
>Open Voting Solutions has submitted their OpenScan product to the
>State of New York for certification. The New York City board of
>elections has also requested information on the OpenScan product.
>With the OpenScan system, hand marked paper ballots are fed into a
>commercially available scanner such as the Kodak i40 scanner. The
>pictures of the ballots are then processed with free open source
>software running on ordinary computers to determine votes cast.
>Open Source means that the instructions, written by computer
>programmers in a computer programming language, are publicly
>”We are looking forward to obtaining the approval and feel that
>being the only vendor with an Open Voting Consortium compliant
>product will be a significant advantage. It says a lot about our
>commitment to making this public process fully public and keeping
>costs down,” says Dr. Johnson.
>OVC certification will be a two-stage process. Earning the OVC
>service mark is not a very involved process and should not take more
>than a week or two. The OVC service mark does not ensure that the
>system is glitch-free: it indicates that the vote tabulation process
>is fully open to public scrutiny and verification. The second part
>of the process will look for glitches or software bugs in the system.
>Dechert continues, “OVC certification is not yet recognized by
>election boards around the country. We think OVC certification will
>be compelling because it’s the only voting system certification
>process where everything we do will be published. Right now, the
>process is a big secret with existing test labs and vendors. We
>know they miss a lot of things, but we really don’t have any way of
>knowing what tests were run. You’d think that almost six years
>after the election mess in 2000, the system would have been
>corrected. It’s time to make some important changes.”
>Open Voting Solutions was co-founded in 2005 by David Webber of
>Maryland and Richard Johnson of New York. Open Voting Consortium
>was co-founded in 2003 by Alan Dechert, Doug Jones of the University
>of Iowa, and Arthur Keller of UC Santa Cruz.
> ###

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