. Our Mission and Key Players | Open Voting Consortium

Our Mission and Key Players

The Open Voting Consortium is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the development, maintenance, and delivery of trustable and open voting systems for use in public elections. We are comprised of computer scientists, voting experts, and voting rights activists. We have a growing international membership base, but our organizing efforts are currently focused in California where we are actively engaged in legislation and implementing Open Voting as a model for the United States.

The founders of OVC are computer engineer Alan Dechert, database and election systems expert Dr. Arthur Keller, and computer science professor Dr. Doug Jones. They have worked collaboratively with experts from throughout the world to examine every aspect of voting scientifically and advance needed reform so that confidence can be restored in American elections. Many of these experts now serve as advisors or on the OVC Board of Directors. In sum, OVC has the brain power and computer programming talent to develop open source software codes and a comprehensive data base and check list for electoral accountability. Now all we need is your support!

What We Do

Voting System Development: We have developed (1) a prototype of open-source software for voting machines (2) an electronic voting machine that prints a paper ballot, (3) a ballot verification station that scans the paper ballot and lets a voter hear the selections, and (4) stations with functions to aid visually impaired people so they can vote without assistance. Open source means that anyone can see how the machines are programmed and how they work.

Legislation: We helped California enact Senate Bill 1438, which requires a paper trail for all electronic voting machines by 2006. We helped draft and garner support for Assembly Concurrent Resolution 242, which encourages the California Secretary of State to investigate open source software for voting systems. We worked with activists in Utah to stop the purchase of paperless electronic voting systems. We offer expert advice and strategy planning to groups working on election reform legislation.

Public Education/Media/Events: Our members organize events around the country, including Open Voting Meetups, to educate their communities about the need for an open voting system. We work with other political groups to organize events. We have a Speakers Bureau providing access to documentaries, activists, and voting system experts. We supply tools for organizing events (see Take Action). Members of our Speaker’s Bureau often appear on the radio, television, and in public meetings to educate people about the need for a secure, transparent, accessible, and reliable voting system.

Open Voting Consortium Founders

Alan Dechert, OVC President and CEO

Alan Dechert is a founder as well as the current President and CEO of the Open Voting Consortium. Alan's background as a software application developer and computer program test engineer for companies like Borland International and Intel Corporation provide a sound foundation for dealing with issues related to voting machine and electoral tabulation software. Dechert helped craft one of the most widely used open source computer programs to remedy the Y2K problem, which was employed by businesses and governments around the world. Alan works full time for OVC educating the public, pressing for needed legislation for electoral accountability and raising funds for programming needed open source voting machine and election tabulation software.

Dr. Arthur Keller, University of California Santa Cruz

Arthur Keller teaches part time at the Information Systems and Technology Management program at the Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Dr. Keller serves on the Executive Committee of Voting Systems Performance Review (VSPR). He is participating in the efforts of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (http://www.cstb.org/) of the National Research Council for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on voter registration databases. As a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer's Projects 1583 and 1622, he is helping to shape standards for evaluation of voting equipment and standardization of electronic data exchange formats in election tabulation, respectively. Dr. Keller serves as an expert witness in database systems and electronic commerce court cases and has experience with national media.

Dr. Douglas Jones, University of Iowa

Doug Jones has been a Professor of computer science at the University of Iowa since 1980. He has gained considerable expertise in the area of voting technology having served on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems since 1994. He headed the board from Fall 1999 to early 2003. This board, appointed by the Secretary of State, must examine and approve all voting machines before they can be offered for sale to county governments. His expertise in this area has put him in great demand since the election messes of 2000 and 2004 and he is frequently quoted in the national media including the New York Times, Business Week, and Scientific American. Jones served as OVC Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for a year. No longer on the OVC board, he is one of the Principal Investigators for "A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable and Transparent Elections" (ACCURATE), a collaborative project involving six institutions funded by the National Science Foundation.

Current OVC Board

Alan Dechert (see above)

Lillie Coney, EPIC

Ms. Coney is Associate Director with the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). Her issue areas include, but are not limited to; nanotechnology, surveillance, civil rights and privacy, census, voter privacy and electronic voting. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. Today EPIC is one of the most widely cited Internet policy organizations in the world. Ms. Coney also serves as Coordinator of the recently established National Committee on Voting Integrity (NCVI). NCVI was created in 2003 in response to growing concerns about the reliability of electronic voting systems.

Karl Auerbach, CTO InterWorking Labs

Karl Auerbach is Chief Technology Officer at InterWorking Labs (www.iwl.com) and a senior researcher in the Advanced Internet Architecture group at Cisco Systems. He has been working on Internet technology since the early 1970's, founded two startups Epilogue Technology and Empirical Tools), and was closely involved with several others. Karl is a long-time member of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) former North American representative on the Board of Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Auerbach has been named as a Yuen Fellow of Law and Technology at the California Institute of Technology and Loyola of Los Angeles Law School. He has also received the Norbert Wiener Award from the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR).

Dr. David Mertz, OVC Vice President and CTO

David Mertz, Ph.D. is a well-known author on programming--and sometimes political--topics. He feels that procedural democracy requires that the technical instruments of governance be open for public inspection, every bit as much as it requires the legal acts of government remain so open. He is active in the Electronic Voting Machine Project (EVM2003); a worldwide group of scientists, engineers, political scientists, legal scholars, and voting-rights activists working on developing a PC based voting machines that will be easier to use, more secure, cheaper, and provide greater democratic transparency than commercially available voting machines. David has written extensively about OVC's design principles.

Laird Popkin, OVC VP, Chief of Operations and Chief Financial Officer

Laird Popkin is the current chairman of the Information and Content Exchange (ICE) Authoring Group, founded by Sun, Microsoft, Adobe and other industry leaders to establish open standards for content syndication. He has been at the forefront of executive and technical decision making with the Internet for more than fifteen years. As CTO of 3Path, Inc., Laird helped establish one of the first digital document delivery services, with Goldman Sachs, BRM and Backweb as investors. In addition, Laird spent two years with Sotheby Holdings as CTO. He also worked for Thinking Machines Corporation, in Cambridge MA, on massively parallel supercomputers to produce scientific visualizations and multimedia presentations.
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