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San Francisco Thinking Forward on Electoral Technology

Last month San Francisco issued a fast-tracked Request For Information ("RFI") to obtain insight, knowledge, and a reality check on the potential for adopting, adapting, and deploying a next generation voting system that is based on open source software technology.  We responded to the RFI. However, in the process, we unintentionally misrepresented the status of OSI review of our OSS license, which we've now corrected.  Read on about our licensing to ensure adoption of OSS election technology, and some comments about San Francisco's thought leadership in researching open source opportunities for electoral technology innovation.

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Repositories Update Continued: VoteStream Dominates

Today we provide another follow-up to our continuing report on our Repositories and source code development efforts.  As others of the Core team have mentioned when contributing posts to the OSET blog (verses the TrustTheVote Project Blog), we appreciate the audience is diversifying over here, and want to forewarn you that parts of what follow get kinda geeky but we try to provide links for those curious to learn more.  (Also Note: The TrustTheVote site is about to be re-launched within the next month, so we're trying to limit blog posts over there.) Anyway, we suspect what makes it geekish more than anything are code-names and acronyms.  We’ll try to minimize the alphabet soup. OK, here we go…

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A Hacked Case For Election Technology

A credible election technology company makes an incredible assertion, and the result is our CTO hot-in-pursuit of some intellectual honesty.  The good news: the conversation is growing on the emerging issue of America's crumbling election technology infrastructure.  The bad news: articles like the one reviewed by our CTO, particularly when published by a respectable online scientific journal create a "reality distortion field" resulting in "sound-bytes" that can mislead policy makers, politicians, and less informed pundits.  Result: degradation of the signal to noise ratio and a hacked case for election technology.  Read on, for a dose of intellectual honesty from our Chief election technologist...

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Reality Check: Cost of Software Development

Even philanthropic efforts to produce public benefits in the form of civic technology have real costs associated with software development.  The open source model, however, means the costs are significantly less than current proprietary commercial alternatives, while the innovative benefits, unconstrained by commercial mandates, can be significantly greater.  More importantly, there is some reality distortion over the real costs to building civic engagement IT, such as election administration and voting systems.  They are markedly different than many other civic engagement tools that require only APIs and interactive web services leveraging government data stores to better engage and serve citizens.  Tuesday's post by Ms. Voting Matters on our Voter Services Portal ignited comments and questions about the real cost to build the Voter Services Portal.  The VSP is not "yet another simple web site," but a collection of software to provide services to voters that integrate with back-end legacy systems, and set the foundation to drive a series of voter service innovations as well as other election management tools in the near future.  We breakdown the cost model and actual costs here...

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Voter Services Portal: Open Source Innovation

The Voter Services Portal component of the Open Source Election Technology Framework is a freely available highly extensible online voter registration platform that can cut the cost of States' and jurisdictions' custom development by as much as 75% and reduce the time to develop and deploy from months or more to merely a few weeks.  Why wouldn't any jurisdiction moving to online voter services strongly consider this freely available source code, open for innovation?  That's the whole point of our non-profit technology R&D effort: increase confidence in elections and their outcomes by offering technology innovations that can be easily adopted, adapted, and deployed.  Sure, there are costs associated with adaptation and deployment; after all, open source does not necessarily mean free source.  But the time and taxpayer dollars savings should make this an easy decision...

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Fighting for Democracy Means More Than Bearing Arms

On this 239th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, we find ourselves reflecting on the causes of democracy and the good and just fight to protect and preserve democracy--not only here in the United States of America, but globally.  The cause of the OSET Foundation, manifest in the TrustTheVote Project, is one important, arguably vital aspect of that good and just fight.  It is likewise important to illustrate that fighting for our democracy means more than bearing arms.

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Driving Online Voter Registration Data Standards

We're helping the formation of a new study group regarding online voter registration data and protocol standards.  This week, we're getting started.  You need not be a geek or a member of the standards working groups or any kind of a techie to get involved.  Here's the opportunity to engage...

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NCSL Convenes Policy & Election Technology Summit

NCSL Conference on Policy and Elections Technology is in full swing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Our Chief Development Officer is set to participate in an interesting panel on the future of elections technology in a post-HAVA funded world.  We have a position document responding to several questions posed to us in advance of the conference available for download...

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OSET Foundation Comments "Key" to USPTO Service Announcement

Intellectual property is a key ingredient to our work.  Monitoring developments relevant to that work is important. Suggestions we urged the USPTO to consider in order to improve 3rd party submission of prior art and crowd-sourcing prior art appear to have been adopted with their recent announcement of a new Patent Application Alert System.  This is will be a very useful tool for us and many.  We applaud the USPTO and are humbled they appear to have fully adopted our comments.

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Launch of New Election Technology Forum

The Foundation announces launch of new election technology news and information channel, Election Technology News (Election-Tech), an eMail listserv forum (with full RSS-syndication support) available to elections professionals everywhere, supported and managed by the OSET Foundation, and powered by ListBox and Attensa.

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Automatic Voter Registration: Oregon Governor Signs Bill to "Just Do it."

Oregon relying on its pioneering heritage and Nike spirit says, "Just Do It" for automatic voter registration. And this move seems to provide a worked example for our CTO's recent blog post about the technical simplicity to do so.  Oregon already being a vote-by-mail state with online voter registration to boot, was likely able to benefit from those prior innovations.  But regardless, as our Foundation's Secretary and General Counsel points out in this post, its a smart move...

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State Certification of Future Voting Systems — 3 Points of Departure

This is a more technical post than others here given the broadening of an audience visiting this Foundation web site in search for content like this article below rather than hanging out on our more geeky Project site (which is soon to be relaunched and be way more engaging for all audiences, we're excited to report).  Usually, you will find this kind of content over there, while here we'll talk more about voting experience innovations, policy matters, and progress of the Project.  So, for those who are passionate about elections reform and improving the voting experience, but are not as fluent in some of the technical issues, feel free to look this over, but do not fret if seems like gobbledygook.  There is more relevant stuff for your concerns to come.  Ready?  Here we go...

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