‘Hacking Democracy’ and open source voting

Hacking Democracy, released in 2007, documents the improprieties and lack of security around proprietary voting software vendor Diebold Elections Systems. It’s incredible to see a group of citizens with little technical background become so passionate about a broken system that they delve deep into the intricacies of vote calculation, but also crack the code on an easily-penetrable software program.

Quotable:

“I think we, as election officials, need to be a little bit more demanding from the vendors as to the technical specifications of this equipment. The vendors are driving the process of voting technology in the United States. I would much rather at this point I think focus on allowing citizens to select technology that satisfies their needs.”

I’m not a voting software expert, but after watching this, I want to learn more about the work of the Open Source Digital Voting Foundation and organizations like it.

Would love to hear feedback and thoughts on the subject from others who know more about this.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh. He is also co-founder and CEO of ProudCity. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at luke@govfresh.com.

1 Response

  1. G. Miller

    Thanks Luke for the shout out on the OSDV Foundation. I encourage readers to wander over to our blog running at the primary project site http://www.TrustTheVote.org to learn more about the five year old project to build an entirely open source election technology framework addressing the entire ballot ecosystem. Some quick hallmarks of this project that distinguish it fro noter efforts: TTV offers the only OSS license that municipalities can legally accept, derived from the Mozilla Public License and addressing a handful of very specific but nuanced details required in licensing of the very special category of software– that which is used in elections admin. 2nd, ours is the only effort that has created a special stakeholders group comrised of over 200 elections administrators, experts and officials from 28 states who are providing input and review in an “RFC” manner similar to how the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) operates. 3rd we are the only OSS project to recently recieve EAC (Federal Elections Assistance Commission) recognition/registration to enable the TTV technology to qualify for certification. 4th TTV is working with NIST to rethink the certification model from a monolithic system paradigm to a lighter weight compoentized certification paradigm. 5th we’re one of the few if not only OSS projects that is figuring out how to marry waterfall and iterative design and development methods together (e.g., structured design with agile development) to create what amounts to fault tolerant systems — for OSS geeks, we liken this to figuring out how to hold a bazaar inside the cathedral ;-). Finally, we believe that what we’re working on is nothing short of “critical democracy infrastructure.” If every voter earmarked $.50 toward building a publicly owned elections technology framework, the project would be done easily in time for the 2016 elections. The crazy kewl news is every elections official who has seen our work so far and must buy from 1 of the 3 commercial vendors remaining, has not just asked, but pleaded with us to finish the work so they could adopt, and pay to have it adapted to their local regulatory requirements. I believe we’re on the edge of making real change happen. And we have to: HOW America votes is as important as who America votes for, and the means by which we cast and count ballots really is critical democracy infrastructure. Thanks for the interest, Luke!

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