. County Election Officials Getting OVC Message | Open Voting Consortium

County Election Officials Getting OVC Message

County election officials in California are showing signs that the message is sinking in: OPEN VOTING is coming.

On Friday, January 19, San Francisco Director of Elections, John Arntz, issued a press release stating that they are establishing a task force one open source for the voting system. A week before that (Jan 12), OVC president, Alan Dechert, gave a presentation to the association of county election officials in California (CACEO). Here is the press release from Friday, followed by information about the CACEO presentation.


City and County of San Francisco
John Arntz, Director


San Francisco, Friday, January 19, 2007 - SAN FRANCISCO, January 19, 2007 -- The San Francisco Department of Elections supports Secretary of State Debra Bowen's goal of increasing voters confidence in the integrity of the voting process in California, San Francisco will create a task force on the subject of source code review, made up of software and system security experts as well as representatives from San Francisco's voting system provider. The Task force will advise the Department of Elections on how to establish a more transparent method of reviewing the software code for any voting system used in the City and that is secure from tampering. This task force will also be asked to provide a security analysis of San Francisco's voting system. The task force will inform the public of its findings on the trustworthiness and security of San Francisco's voting system and make recommendations for creating a more transparent voting system.

One of San Francisco's goals is to have a review of its existing voting system that will set the foundation for transparent operation of all voting systems. A second goal is for the review process to result in becoming the cornerstone in the development of security standards applicable to all voting systems.

The San Francisco Department of Elections will take the following steps:

  • Secure cooperation of San Francisco's voting system vendor
  • Seek technical expertise of the Secretary of State's office
  • Continue consultations with the Open Voting Consortium
  • Appoint a Task Force comprised of experts in software development and system security; San Francisco's voting system provider; and representatives from the Secretary of State's office
  • Work with the Task Force to develop procedures and methods to use in reviewing the existing voting system
  • Require Task Force to issue a report on the review that includes recommendations for voting system review and a list of best practices
  • Set date for voting system vendor to respond to the review of the existing system and the Task Force report


The OVC January 12 presentation to county election officials was given by Alan Dechert with Brent Turner assisting. There were about 40 attendees -- mostly registrars of voters. A few were assistant ROVs like Ryan Ronco of Placer. Conny McCormack of Los Angeles (past CACEO president) was there, as well as the current president (Weir). Michael Kanotz, Election Counsel, with the Secretary of State was also there.

The documents included in the handout can be found near the bottom of this page: http://www.openvotingconsortium.org/ad/selectedlinks.html

In my opening remarks, I pointed out the GAO excerpt and the letter from Bowen. I pointed out that Debra Bowen wrote the letter in response to a request from me as something I could show to supporters and potential supporters to give people an idea of how we were working together. After receiving the letter from Bowen, I said I planned to share it with a limited audience. She said, "show it to anyone you want." So, I continue to use it.

I used my laptop with Linux (Ubuntu) and Open Office hooked up to a projector (thanks to Arthur Keller for lending me the projector!). This helped greatly in making my points.

I got through the first set of slides and time was about up. The only IBM slide I discussed was pg 6 (Evolution to an Open Standard). The IBM slides are excellent but I didn't have time to cover them. They were included in the handout in thumbnail form and I explained that the full page slides were available online at the links url I gave them.

After the main part of the presentation, there was some lively discussion. It was after 11:00 before we finished. Brent and I spoke with several of them afterward in the hallway.

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