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05 August 2008, 11:21

LinuxWorld gets an open source voting tryout

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The Open Voting Consortium is giving its open source based voting machines a trial run at LinuxWorld, currently being held in San Francisco. In a mock election ballot for the 2008 Presidential election, attendees will be able to vote and see the votes tallied on a half hourly basis and see how the system supports recounts.

One of the civil issues where open source can help is the issue of transparency, especially in electronic voting where proprietary vendors rely on security by obscurity to protect the vote, making tampering often incredibly easy, yet also hard to prove. The Open Voting Consortium was formed in a response to this problem and has been working on creating an open source, publicly administered, publicly owned and accountable voting system.

The system being demonstrated at LinuxWorld costs around $400 per voting machine, much less than proprietary solutions, and uses the attendee's badge barcode to generate a personal ballot paper. The attendee casts their vote and the system scans the ballot paper for the voters choice, leaving an auditable paper trail.

Although not ready for actual elections in the US, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly is coming to see the demonstration and to talk with the consortium. The OVC hopes that they can have the system certified for elections in 2010.


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