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Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Kapor: “Disruptive Innovation” Could Fix U.S. Voting

OSDV Panel

“Disruptive innovation” is what we need to fix America’s broken voting system, Mitch Kapor, the election reformer and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lotus 1-2-3, said on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Kapor made his remarks at an event sponsored by the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation (OSDV) at the home of Hollywood film producer Lawrence Bender. The event was intended to introduce the Hollywood audience to the OSDV’s Trust the Vote project and its mission, to “re-invent how America votes in a digital democracy.”

Kapor was joined on a panel by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan and friends of Why Tuesday? OSDF co-founder Gregory Miller, Heather Smith from Rock the Vote and CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Kim Zetter covered the event for Wired Magazine, and said that the main piece of news to come from the event was that the OSDV’s open-source voting code, the type of “disruptive innovation” Kapor was talking about, is now ready for a transparent public review. (more…)

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

LinuxWorld Test Run For Open Source Voting

Next week in San Francisco a voting machine that runs on open source software and was designed by the Open Voting Consortium, a nonprofit with the stated goal of moving towards “trustable and open voting systems,” will be put to use at LinuxWorld, where they will be holding a mock election. Apparently 100,000 people are expected to participate. Here are some of the details from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The LinuxWorld conference is held every year in San Francisco to discuss open-source software – software whose code is designed and maintained by volunteers. The conference takes its name from Linux, computer operating system designed by Linus Torvalds in the 1990s that has a passionate following. It competes against Microsoft Windows and has spawned software for numerous devices, including voting machines.

Open-source software is free for anyone to use, although licensing restrictions apply – changes to the code, for example, usually need to be given back to the community. The code that runs this voting machine is based on the work of a former Berkeley student, Ka-Ping Yee, who now works at Google.

At a price of about $400, the new voting machine is a tenth of the cost of proprietary machines – less if made in quantity, Dechert said – because it’s simply designed and based on free software. Its workings are transparent, he said, unlike some of the electronic voting machines that California decertified for security problems.

People who attend the conference will vote by scanning a bar code on their badges, then selecting a candidate from a computer screen. When they’re done, they will print their ballots, which will include their bar codes. A separate machine can scan the bar codes and read their votes back to them if they choose.

Votes can be audited in several ways – by manually counting the ballots, scanning the bar codes, or processing pictures of the ballots to see if the text on each ballot matches its bar code.

The article goes on to say that this particular could be certified and ready to roll in real (not mock) elections by 2010. I’m down in Los Angeles now and will be next week, and might try and make it up for LinuxWorld if I have the time. This sounds pretty cool.

Click here for a look at our past coverage of electronic voting, including an interview with a Princeton professor, the Mayor of Philly and more.

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Recent Comments

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