GRANITE BAY, CA -- "Proprietary hardware and proprietary software are not actually needed to tabulate votes," said Alan Dechert, president of Open Voting Consortium. "This fact has been demonstrated in public elections in Australia and elsewhere. If the voting system industry in the United States cannot get its act together, the government may well decide that we cannot afford to have them around anymore."
In a letter dated April 30th, Dechert wrote that, "Voting system industry market failure has been due to the proliferation over the past 45 years of voting technologies that pose significant public risks. Regulation has grown in an attempt to mitigate these risks – grown to a point where a customer might want a new system but the market cannot provide it. " The letter was in response to a paper issued by Election Technology Council, a trade association of the four major vendors -- ES&S, Diebold ("Premier"), Sequoia, and Hart InterCivic.
They have been continually re-inventing the wheel. Now that federal certification of a new voting system has ballooned to $4 million, the market cannot support a continuation of this activity.
"The Election Technology Council paper has a lot of misinformation, but it is remarkable in that it shows industry is taking a good look at open source," Dechert continues. At one point, Election Technology Coucil acknowledges that "open source should be recognized as a potential product substitute for proprietary software systems."
The voting system industry could survive by all using the same publicly available open source software.
Open Voting Consortium is a nonprofit organization that develops and promotes free and open source software for the conduct of public elections.