Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New voting system standards

From: stds-scc38@IEEE.ORG [mailto:stds-scc38@IEEE.ORG] On Behalf Of Al Kolwicz
Sent: Sunday, September 16, 2007 10:10 AM
To: g.robinson@computer.org
Cc: stds-scc38@IEEE.ORG; w.ash@IEEE.ORG
Subject: RE: SCC38 meeting announcement Oct 29 and 30

Mr. Robinson,

Two items that I would like to have included in the agenda are (1) scope of effort, and (2) governance. Neither of these items can be resolved at the meeting, but the committee can form a common understanding of what is meant by each, and can create subcommittees to address each.

Regarding "scope of effort", in my opinion this committee's prior efforts and the current EAC standards are both incomplete and misdirected. Incomplete, because the focus of the effort is on the EQUIPMENT and not the SYSTEM. Misdirected, because the work product is focused on mechanics rather than outcomes. A VOTING SYSTEM must meet certain functional requirements and do so within precisely measured performance specifications.

Voting System requirements deal with topics like districts/jurisdictions, eligibility (contests, contestants, and electors), anonymity, accuracy, verifiability, security, transparency, accountability, accessibility, poll watching, canvass boards, auditing, testing, etc. To date, the work of this committee has ignored most of the important functional elements of a voting system. If this committee does not choose to address these elements, then the committee should at a minimum declare in a set of "assumptions" that specific elements are to be addressed elsewhere. At a very minimum, we must have a voting systems diagram with each of the functional elements identified with standard nomenclature.

By focusing on minutiae, the volume of the standard is so large it becomes ineffective. No county clerk or judge in a court of law will ever read or understand the work. Re-focusing the effort will enable the standard to incorporate all of the functional elements, and do so in a manner that is durable over time and technology.

Regarding "governance", in my opinion this committee's work-in-progress should be available on the Internet - at no charge - including copies of drafts and committee correspondence. To my knowledge, there is no document of understanding detailing how this work will be used by government, and this needs to be negotiated and documented. Further, I cannot help but feel that the prior work product was misused by the prior leadership. Rules should be set to establish maximum transparency and to prevent misuse of the work.


Al Kolwicz
Colorado Voter Group
2867 Tincup Circle
Boulder, CO 80305

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