Open Voting

By on November 4, 2004

We seem to have avoided most of the Y2K election fiasco this year (depending on who you ask, of course), but most of the country still uses some sort of voting system with inherent flaws. Punch cards leave hanging chads, optical scanners have partially filled-in choices, and the current generation of electronic devices can, of course, helpfully erase your vote with no audit trail at all.

The Open Voting Consortium is a group that’s trying to develop and promote a system based on open software that will administer elections using a non-Diebold-crazy-let’s-delete-the-votes method. Even better, they’ve developed a system that can be booted off a live cd and use old computers that municipalities are already throwing out annually.

The heart of democracy is voting. The heart of voting is trust that each vote is recorded and tallied with accuracy and impartiality.

The Open Voting Consortium (OVC) is creating a trustworthy, cost effective, voter verifiable voting system using open source software components on industry standard computers.. A primary element of this Open Voting system is the use of software through which the voter creates a printed paper ballot containing his or her choices.

They have a demo and an FAQ online, and it makes a lot of sense. Definitely an approach with some merit.



  1. I think this would be really cool. Unfortunately, companies that have a financial interest with their proprietary systems (i.e. Diebold) will probably try and squash efforts like this.

  2. There’s supposed to be an article in the Argus today about what SD plans to do to upgrade our voting system. If they’re talking about electronic (a la Diebold) machines, I intend to write the Sec of State about the OVC.

  3. The sample ballot they use is worth a few chuckles; George Washington and Abe Lincoln on the Republican ticket, running against Thomas Jefferson and Harry Truman on the Democrat side for President. Then there’s Lenin and Marx on the Socialist ticket.

    Good idea though. The more eyes you have on the software that handles the voting the less likely someone is going to get away with any funny business.

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