Proprietary Election Systems: Summarily Disqualified

The following was provided by Brent Turner, California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO) Secretary. CAVO, an OSI Affiliate Member.

Hello Open Source Software Community & U.S. Voters,

I and the California Association of Voting Officials, represent a group of renowned computer scientists that have pioneered open source election systems, including, "one4all," New Hampshire’s Open Source Accessible Voting System (see attached). Today government organizations like NASA, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Air Force rely on open source software for mission critical operations. I and CAVO believe voting and elections are indeed mission-critical to protect democracy and fulfill the promise of the United States of America as a representative republic.

Since 2004, the open source community has advocated for transparent and secure—publicly owned—election systems to replace the insecure, proprietary systems most often deployed within communities. Open source options for elections systems can reduce the costs to taxpayers by as much as 50% compared to traditional proprietary options, which also eliminates vendor lock-in, or the inability of an elections office to migrate away from a solution as costs rise or quality decreases.

Like others, CAVO is opposed to AB-668 Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2018. Although this Act might help our efforts toward better, open source, election systems, the bond funds it creates—450 million dollars—can be used by California localities to procure insecure, over-priced, proprietary systems, which will only lock these communities into additional commitments (and more costs). This Act will set horrible precedent for the United States, only exacerbating the growing national security and confidence crisis surrounding elections and their outcomes.

CAVO finds it incomprehensible that an elected leader in the United States would push for funding of these systems deemed insecure by government studies. Their proprietary nature disqualifies them summarily.

Both I and CAVO are available for further information.

Best regards,
Brent Turner
Secretary, California Association of Voting Officials