Sequoia Agrees to Comply with any Open Source legal requirements

Opposition to our open voting bill AB 2097 (Goldberg) was predicated on vendor non-compliance. They said our law would cost the state huge sums because vendors would refuse to go along.
We have proven this to be false. At the Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting last week (Jun 6), the registrar of voters, Dave MacDonald described the contract with Sequoia. He said that the agreement includes a provision that says the vendor will comply with any state or federal law that requires open source. You can listen here.

Bowen-Ortiz Debate

California State Senator Debra Bowen won the Democratic Party endorsement for the office of Secretary of State at the convention last weekend. In the debate with Senator Deborah Ortiz, her opponent in the primary, she condemns Diebold and says, emphatically, "we need open source voting software that is publicly owned and not proprietary...." Click here to listen to that part.
Or, you can listen to the whole debate. Willie Brown is the moderator. Senator Bowen received over eighty percent of the delegates' votes!

No Opposition

I've said it a few times in public. There's "no opposition" to the OVC project. The challenge is in gathering together the support needed to accomplish steps toward our ultimate goal.
So when Jackie Goldberg's office (of the CA Assembly Member that's carrying our bill, AB 2097) informed me that lobbyists were showing up saying that industry is making it a priority to kill our bill, I had to re-think that just a bit.
There is some opposition. We ran into that. Tom Umberg's staff didn't seem to like the bill. The American Electronics Association (AeA), a large industry association was represented at the hearing. Deborah Seiler (former Diebold salesperson) of Solano County and Jill LaVine of Sacramento testified on behalf of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials (CACEO, Conny McCormack of Los Angeles, president). There was also opposition from another large industrial consortium, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), which had sent a long opposition letter signed by representatives of ES&S and Sequoia. Two of McPherson's senior staff members represented the Secretary of State's office, explaining his position.

Support AB 2097!

Latest News about AB 2097:
We were successful in our first test. Our opposition received no votes. We received five votes and there were two abstentions.
Now we need 41 votes in the Assembly (80 members). Keep up the support! Thanks!
This bill is sponsored by Open Voting Consortium, and carried by California Assembly Member Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles).
Here is Secretary of State McPherson's letter in opposition. Here's an outline of my testimony.
You can also mail or fax a letter of support. For some ideas for what to write, click here for our fact sheet. Here is a sample letter from the Grey Panthers:
March 26, 2006
The Honorable Jackie Goldberg
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: 319-2145
Attn: Bob Reid
RE: AB 2097 (Goldberg) Open Source Software for Elections
Dear Assemblyperson Goldberg:
Gray Panthers California is pleased to express its support for your measure AB 2097 which would require that all technical details, including computer source code, of computerized vote tabulating systems be publically disclosed by June 30, 2007.
We have watched the efforts all across the nation to come up with voting machines that we believe relay true and accurate results of our votes. To date, we are unsatisfied with what we've learned. As you have pointed out, experts cannot to date find systems to assure accuracy. Part of our concerns are based on the fact that programers input instructions about which we are unaware and have no way of studying. This is the source of our concern - that computerized voting machines can be made to reflect the vote in any way they are manipulated, unless there is a truly transparent disclosure of their programs. Vendors should grant us the right to public inspection and testing of their programs. Further distribution of that software and its specifications should be handled by the Secretary of State within the state voting system certification system.
We are pleased to join in this effort with you and to forward our intentions to all coalition members with whom we advocate.
Joan B. Lee
Legislative Liaison
Alliance for Better Business CARA Legislative Committee Town & Country Democratic Club Sacramento Stonewall Democratic Club
Joan B. Lee
Legislative Liaison
Gray Panthers California
FAX 916-332-5980
5313 Fernwood Way
Sacramento, CA 95841

Keepin’ it Real with Will & Willie

I'll be on Keepin’ it Real with Will & Willie tomorrow morning at 7:30a. That's Will Durst, the comedian/satirist and Willie Brown, former San Francisco Mayor and former California legislator. It's 960 AM on the dial or you can listen via Internet. I'll be talking about the upcoming San Francisco Elections Commission forum this Wednesday evening. Also, I'll talk about how industry folks like Diebold are trying to kill the bill we are sponsoring, AB 2097 (D-Goldberg, Los Angeles). This bill would require full public disclosure of all technical details (including source code) for voting systems as part of the certification process.

How to Steal an Election

The Washington Post has a great graphic that details the differences in regulation between Vegas slot machines and proprietary electronic voting machines.
The State of Nevada has access to all of the software that runs slot machines, and it's illegal for casinos to use software that's not on file. Meanwhile, Diebold, Sequoia and other vendors aren't required to disclose software code for their voting machines because it is a "trade secret."

Tell McPherson Diebold is No Good for California!

From California State Senator Deborah Bowen:
In just the past seven days, more than 2500 people have emailed Secretary of State Bruce McPherson through my website, urging him to reverse his decision to re-certify Diebold voting machines.
The people of California deserve a full and transparent process for managing elections, a process that welcomes their participation and input -- not backroom deals and secret studies that only see the light of day after final decisions have already been made.
Apparently, email messages from 2500 concerned citizens aren't enough to make Secretary McPherson change his mind -- so we need to make sure he hears from thousands more people, like you. That's why I'm asking you, urgently, to forward an email to the Secretary of State as well.
Urge Secretary of State McPherson to reverse his decision on Diebold -- email him today!

Bowen slams voting systems in S.C. speech

By Nancy Pasternack sentinel staff writer
SANTA CRUZ — State Sen. Debra Bowen ventured onto Bruce McPherson's home turf Saturday to let voters know she's gunning for his job.
The tech-savvy legislator, D-Marina del Rey, spoke to a group of 20 Santa Cruz Democrats in the basement of the Veterans Hall about inconsistencies and a lack of security in American and California voting systems.
"You cannot maintain a democracy where a significant number of people have doubts about the legitimacy of an election," Bowen said. She criticized Secretary of State McPherson for certifying on Feb. 17 voting systems made by Diebold Election Systems of Canton, Ohio, whose CEO made campaign contributions to the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign.

$10,000 Challenge Grant received

Friends, we have received a $10,000 challenge grant from OVC supporter Chris Franklin. Here's what he had to say about it:
In thriving democracies, vote counting is observed by representatives from all of the parties involved. This process makes cheating and/or mistakes almost impossible. Use of closed, proprietary, software to count the vote eliminates any observation, making the vote totals inherently untrustworthy. Open voting systems, that can be examined by all parties involved, is the only way to retain this crucial oversight when votes are counted by machine. OVC is a central part of making sure this is done.
I am making this donation with the expectation that others will match my contribution. People who, like me, want to look their children in the eye and know that they have done everything in their power to hand down a great country with a democratically elected government. Only with a voting system that is completely open to voter oversight, can that be ensured. If we lose our democracy to secret vote counting, our children will not enjoy the freedoms that we have today.

California takes up transparency, open source voting

2006.02.16 7:00
by Jay Lyman
Calif. State Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) knows about making government and technology more open. She also knows her brother, a US Navy programmer, could code a program to rig an election in 20 minutes.
After putting the Golden State's legislation, public records, legislator records, and more online in 1993, Bowen is now looking to make transparency in voting front and center in her campaign for Calif. Secretary of State. Bowen, who chairs the state's Election Committee, is overseeing hearings this month on whether the state should move toward using electronic voting systems that rely on open source software, as well as how voting systems are tested and certified. The hearings have featured electronic voting and open source experts, including Red Hat Vice President of Corporate Development Michael Evans, and highlight whether and how the public can see the code and the process of voting.