>Dr. David Dill
>The Resolution on Electronic Voting
>David L. Dill is a Professor of Computer Science and, by courtesy,
>Electrical Engineering at Stanford University and has been on the
>faculty at Stanford since 1987. He has degrees in Electrical Engineering
>and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
>and Carnegie-Mellon University. David's primary research interests
>relate to the theory and application of formal verification techniques
>to system designs, including hardware, protocols, and software.
>Dr. Dill will describe his efforts to organize opposition to paperless
>electronic voting machines, resulting in The Resolution on Electronic
>Voting (visit http://verify.stanford.edu/evote.html to see the text of
>the resolution). He will also discuss the current state of legislative
>efforts (for example HR 2239 -- The Voter Confidence and Increased
>Accessibility Act of 2003) to address the issue of fraud when
>electronic voting systems are in use.
Dr. Dill began by explaining that one of the fundamental things that makes democracy work is a widespread belief that the stated result of the election is really the will of the voters. Without that, a whole host of problems crop up, and large populations become ungovernable. So far, electronic voting has only been tried on a large scale in a few places, including Georgia, which seems to have done anomalous things like elect their first Republican governor that anybody can remember.
He then explained that for electronic voting to be as widely accepted as the current paper based equipment, it needs to be as transparent. Transparency has two components, open source so that the design of the machines involved can be looked over to prevent back doors from being designed in, and paper trails so that what the voters actually decide on election day can be checked independent of the machine made tally if questions crop up.
At the moment, all three of the leading electronic voting companies are insisting that their software is proprietary stuff. Dr. Dill has been working on bringing visibility to this issue ever since he realized there could be a problem there, early this year. He has gotten every computing professional that follows the field closely to sign on to his resolution (see URL above), and many others besides. He also mentioned that somebody managed to get ahold of the source code for one company's vote counting software, and it did seem to have hooks for tampering with the vote in it.
Also, he has managed to get Sequoia, the vendor selected by Santa Clara County, to add an optional printer to their machine to make the paper ballot that is the basis of a paper trail verification system. He finished that part of his speech by explaining that the government needs to hear from people that they want the paper trial for it to happen. Please make that call!
At this point Dr. Dill had to run off to participate in a conference call. Dennis Paull took over and explained that the problem with electronic voting machines is that they make it possible for small numbers of people to have large effects without any accountability. He gave as a possible example Chuck Hagel, who used to be the President of the company that sold electronic voting equipment to Nebraska, and now he is that State's Senator. He also had some troubling things to say about how easy it is to manipulate votes sent in by mail and over the Internet.
At the end of the event I was handed a FAQ sheet about DRE. If you would like a copy, let me know where to mail it. On the back was the following list of URLs where you could find more information:
Electoral College Reform
California Voter Foundation
Vote America Vote