Python - PC based Voting Machine Project Announcement

Discussion in 'Python' started by Alan Dechert, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Alan Dechert

    Alan Dechert Guest

    Just getting underway on SourceForge.... 15 volunteers so far including
    several from CLPY. We can still use more help!

    Silicon Valley Computer Scientists Team Up To Demonstrate Free Voting

    Alan Dechert
    Friday, August 8, 2003

    Scientists and engineers from the Silicon Valley have started a project
    aimed at developing a PC based voting machine they claim will be easier to
    use, more tamper-resistant, and cheaper than commercially available voting

    The target for completion of the demonstration project is mid-October. If
    successful and fully funded, certified ready-to-use software could be
    available in about a year.

    Computerized voting offers many advantages over traditional systems,

    - The ability to easily handle multiple languages,
    - Meeting the needs of voters with disabilities,
    - Eliminates problems such as overvoting and other voter intent issues.

    High quality refurbished PC's that are only one generation old exist in
    great abundance and have more than enough power to make great voting
    machines. More than 25 million such PCs are retired annually in the United
    States alone. Less than 10 percent of these PCs would be needed for all the
    voting booths in the U.S.

    The concept has already been demonstrated in Australia where, in 2001, the
    Australian Capital Territory government commissioned the development of open
    source software to run on trailing-edge PCs set up in polling places as
    voting machines.

    The current open source software development project, known as EVM, includes
    participants from around the United States as well as developers from
    overseas. EVM will differ from the Australian system in several ways. Most
    importantly, the machine will include a printer from which a completed paper
    ballot will be produced. It will work with either a touch screen PC monitor
    or a regular PC monitor and mouse.

    The project developer, Alan Dechert, got EVM going with help from Stanford
    computer scientist David Dill, who referred several people to him. Arthur
    Keller, a UC Santa Cruz computer science professor, recruited one of his
    former students, Adrianne Yu Wang of San Jose, to be the Team Lead. Along
    with Ed Cherlin of Cupertino and Jack Walther of Santa Cruz, they chose to
    use the Python computer language for development of the demonstration
    system. Douglas W. Jones, a University of Iowa computer science professor
    and world-renowned expert on voting technology, is taking a very active role
    as advisor and mentor.

    Other volunteers include Dr. David Mertz of Massachusetts, a well-known
    writer on computer programming issues, who has also taken a very active
    role. Additional key people include QA Lead Matt Shomphe of Los Angeles,
    and Lead Developer Anand Pillai of Bangalore, India. Van Lindberg (Utah),
    Skip Montanaro (Illinois), Dennis Paull (California), and Matteo Giacomazzi
    (Italy) are all contributing their expertise to the project.

    Jay Tefertiller, Ben Strednak, and Steve Gardner of ISIS Technology
    (Oklahoma City) are developing the non-proprietary hardware design, and
    working on establishing a trade association, tentatively called the "Open
    Voting Consortium," that will establish and maintain high standards for the
    open voting hardware.

    The EVM project is using the services offered at, the
    world's largest Open Source software development web site, to store source
    code and documentation, track issues, and manage the project. Developers
    want to demonstrate a voting system where all components are open for public
    inspection and debate. Consistent with this idea, all aspects of the
    development of the software are open to the public also. The direct URL for
    the project is at,

    The demonstration standalone voting machines will be set up at strategic
    locations, for example, in the Silicon Valley area and Sacramento. A web
    based version will also be available so that anyone with Internet access can
    try out the look and feel of the system.

    EVM project proponents hope that this successful demonstration project will
    lead to a very large well-funded academic study that will capitalize on
    other efforts to bring about a modern, reliable, affordable, uniform, and
    fully auditable voting system. While designed to be certified in the United
    States first, it will be built from the ground up as an international voting
    machine. The larger study will include not only the development of voting
    machine software, but all software necessary for election administration,
    and an Election Rules Database that will document all election rules in
    effect in all jurisdictions in the United States.

    More background information can be found here:

    If you want to help with the EVM project, contact,

    Alan Dechert
    4700 Allegretto Way
    Granite Bay, CA 95746

    To receive updates about EVM via email, write to
    Alan Dechert, Aug 8, 2003
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