December 2nd, 2003

Kevin Shelley kicks azz.

Earlier i mentioned Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's Position on Touch Screen Voting Systems. But all i said was that he was mandating voter-verifiable paper audit trails (by July 2006). His directives ask for much more. If you haven't had time to read the report, here are his requirements:
  • From now on, only local election officials, not voting system manufacturers, will be allowed to conduct pre-election logic and accuracy tests, and they will also ensure that systems are isolated from the Internet.
  • By December 31, 2003, state testing requirements will be strengthened to require source code, a threat analysis, security analysis, and software analysis in the state certification.
  • By December 31, 2003, procedures will be in place for random software audits of DREs to ensure that the same code is used on each machine.
  • By December 31, 2003, strict internal manufacturer security standards will be developed, including stiff criminal penalties for malicious code, mandatory retesting after any change to object code, and programmer background checks.
  • As of January 1, 2004, all DRE systems must produce a printed paper record of cast ballots at the close of the polls.
  • By January 20, 2004, a technical oversight committee of independent experts in computer science and computer security will be appointed to set standards for testing and code review.
  • By the March 2004 primary, election officials will implement parallel monitoring, in which a random selection of machines are taken out of service on Election Day and run through a simulated election.
  • After July 1, 2005, the state will only purchase new DRE systems that provide a fully accessible voter-verifiable audit trail and an electronic vote verification method with open source code.
  • After July 1, 2006, all deployed DRE systems will be modified or replaced to provide a fully accessible voter-verifiable audit trail and an electronic vote verification method with open source code.
This is far better than i could have dreamed. Please call or write to Kevin Shelley now (scroll down to the Elections Division, near the bottom) to thank him for taking these huge steps forward for reliability and accountability in elections.

In other news, Diebold has backed down and will be retracting all of its copyright threats to the ISPs and students that have been posting the memos. Congratulations to Cindy and Wendy at the EFF, and the hardworking people at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society!

I'm very happy, but the battle isn't over yet — now we have to get all the other states to follow California's lead, and push for open source code in all election systems.
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