. My Testimony at February 8th Secretary of State's Hearing | Open Voting Consortium

My Testimony at February 8th Secretary of State's Hearing

The California Secretary of State's February 8th hearing on "The Future of Voting in California: The People, the Equipment, the Costs" was a good overview of where we are at with voting system reform.

Open Voting Consortium has been pushing Open Source, Open Standards, and the Electronic Ballot Printer (EBP) design. While not yet evident in the systems in use today, I am happy to report that these concepts are taking hold; Progress seems glacial at times, but we are getting there.

I attended and testified. I did not submit written testimony at the time because I wanted to hear what was said and respond to that. My written submission is now available.

Here is a summary of what I said:

  • "Open Source" gaining currency
  • Discerning voter intent was a key issue in 2000, and that issue remains unresolved
  • We need machine-marked printed ballots to eliminate the voter intent issue. The federal program for military and overseas voters embodies this concept.
  • Progress correcting voting system faults has been very slow
  • The need for a common data format is now recognized. OVC has been promoting the Election Markup Language (EML). We continue to advocate for adoption of EML (now EML v6). Sequoia says they are starting to use EML.
  • Accessible voting booth at each poll site: high cost, high maintenance, and low usage. This is causing jurisdictions to want to eliminate poll sites. We need a different approach, especially for accessible voting at home, which is where people with disabilities tend to vote.
  • Officials need to be more proactive to get the job done. We've heard talk of "banding together," and that's the basis of the consortium idea. Interested parties should be joining a consortium (like the Open Voting Consortium) to solve these problems.
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