. Independence Day Message | Open Voting Consortium

Independence Day Message

Adopted 232 years ago today, we all know something about the Declaration of Independence. It's worth looking at it again. How many of us really know what it says? What is the purpose of government, according to this document?

Sure, it says we will be independent from British rule and it explains the philosophy and reasoning behind the action. Overall, it says that we-the-people run things. We can decide for ourselves. We have the right to alter the system of laws, or throw it out altogether and establish a new one -- whatever makes sense to us. The basic concept is self-governance.

Some will say it was only an idea and that, in reality, it was and remains a system created by the elite for the elite. It was a great idea, but the implementation has been poor.

Today, we the people are mere consumers of whatever they are serving. We are mesmerized by gadgetry, trained to believe we can't change things. They will do what they want.

Like everything else, the voting system is controlled by large corporations. Governments are the customers of the voting system vendors. They don't consider you to be the customer because it's been forgotten -- or they never embraced the idea -- that you are the government. This mentality is pervasive and potentially catastrophic for us and the children.

The Declaration of Independence was a great idea. We may never achieve the perfection described, but we can come much closer to it.

The voting system is only one arena where we the people need to assert oversight and control. The open voting movement has made great progress. Still, it's a struggle. People that care enough about these issues to lend support are besieged to contribute by many worthy campaigns. Horrible public policies implemented by elected officials -- elected with horrible voting technology -- have devastated our economy. Gasoline prices have nearly doubled since Election Day 2006. Our supporters are hurting, we are hurting.

OVC is now at a do-or-die moment. We have a great opportunity to show the way to a public voting system at the Linux World conference, which starts one month from today in San Francisco (AUG 4-7). We need to pull together the resources to do this. We will have to expand our base of support rapidly in the coming few weeks.

I think we can do it, but there is no guarantee. The odds are probably against us.

Bottom line: to be successful, in parallel, we have to,

  1. raise enough money to finish our system and get it certified
  2. build our community to a size and strength that will give officials confidence about who is taking responsibility for the software, and,
  3. educate people in all our target communities
Our demonstration voting system at Linux World will help us meet all three of these needs.

We need to raise $30,000 by August 4th. John-Paul Gignac, a programmer that wrote voter interface code for our 2004 demo, started something called FOSS Factory (FOSS stands for Free Open Source Software). He continues to work for us and has now pledged $5,000 as matching funds for our fundraising drive. I am still looking for a couple of people to make similar leadership pledges. Until then, FOSS Factory will match the first $5,000 in contributions dollar-for-dollar. The Okori Group, led by Brian Fox, is also dedicating resources to the effort, including programming that will move OVC technology a large step toward commercial viability.

OVC is still embryonic. We are designed to be membership based -- members comprised of USERS of open voting technology and PROVIDERS of open voting technology. Prospective members on the provider side include FOSS Factory, The Okori Group, and Open Voting Foundation -- all of which have already dedicated resources to the effort. There are other potential providers that have expressed interest in joining.

We are talking with many potential users (besides individual voters) of open voting technology about joining OVC. We are excited by the prospects. Some potential users we are in conversation with include some of the largest jurisdictions in the US. There are also some small ones that have expressed interest, and are very interesting to us as well. Specifically, some jurisdictions -- cities conducting city elections -- don't need to have us go through the certification process. So, these could be some of the first organizations to join OVC on the user side.

OVC has fallen short in its fundraising drives one time too many. We are in a hole and need to get out. At the same time, our expenses will be much higher than ever as we plan to provide 17 voting booths (fully equipped with OVC Electronic Ballot Printers) and other materials for our exhibit at Linux World. $30,000 is a tall order -- far more than we have ever even attempted to raise in one month.

We know what we need to do and we are doing it. Join us, if you haven't done so already. Help spread the word to people you think might join the effort.

Use your credit card (or PayPal acct) or send us a check!

There are several ways to donate money to our cause. The PayPal button on our web site http://openvoting.org is probably the quickest and easiest. This is the address for PayPal: donation@openvotingconsortium.org

You may also use our Amazon account to contribute (best for small, up to $50, anonymous contributions) http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/pay/T43MQSRHDPEDQ/102-0964310-0180917

If by check, please send to:
Open Voting Consortium
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746

Contributions to OVC are not tax deductible, unless you can justify it as a business expense. For example, FOSS Factory's contribution can probably be written off as a business expense (talk to accountant if in doubt) -- membership dues.

Contributions to OPEN VOTING FOUNDATION may be tax deductible: Make your check to our sponsor, "Software in the Public Interest" (or "SPI") and send to my address. You can also make a tax deductible donation online at www.openvotingfoundation.org . (contributions via SPI cost us 5%). We can also accept a check or wire transfer directly to Open Voting Foundation.

We need to raise $30,000 by AUG 4th -- we need most of this money sooner than later. If you are making a larger contribution ($1,000 or more), please consider making a wire transfer. Both Open Voting Consortium and Open Voting Foundation bank with US Bank, routing number 121122676. The account number for OVC is 1534 5394 7266. The OVF account number is 1534 5655 6874. The absolute lowest overhead and fastest way to contribute for us would be to go to a US Bank branch and make a cash deposit to OVC (or OVF).

Thank you again for helping OVC to continue progressing toward the establishment of OPEN VOTING. Don't hesitate to write or call if there is anything you want to talk about. I'm on the phone a lot these days, so leave a message if I don't answer.

Alan Dechert
President, Open Voting Consortium
9560 Windrose Lane
Granite Bay, CA 95746

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