. Historic Decision by San Francisco Elections Commission Favoring Open Source Software for Elections | Open Voting Consortium

Historic Decision by San Francisco Elections Commission Favoring Open Source Software for Elections

This is probably the biggest victory for the Open Voting movement so far. Last night, the San Francisco Elections Commission voted 6-1 to adopt a policy favoring the use of open source software in their voting systems, and, more generally, favoring the "maximum level of security and transparency possible consistent with the principles of public disclosure."

This was introduced by Commissioners Arnold Townsend and Victor Hwang. We congratulate them and all the other Commissioners for taking this bold step.

Here is the complete text of the general policy statement they passed:

Whereas California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has expressed strong support for a move towards open source election software;

Whereas members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have recently raised concerns about ratifying a contract for voting machines which did not allow for open source software;

And whereas the San Francisco Department of Elections has already announced its intent to establish a task force to look into a transition into open source technology;

Pursuant to Section 13.105.5, San Francisco Charter which authorizes the Election Commission to establish general policies for the Elections Department, the Elections Commission establishes the following general policies;

First, the Elections Commission endorses the policy of using voting system technologies and software that maximize voting system security while at the same time providing the maximum level of transparency possible to assure voters that their votes will be counted as cast.

Specifically, to ensure the integrity of our elections and to increase public confidence in our government, the Commission endorses the policy that the Department of Elections should make reasonable efforts to select and use voting systems technology, including hardware and software, that at a minimum, is publicly disclosed.

In this context, public disclosure means that members of the public should have at least the right to inspect, test, and comment on such technology in a procurement process and as configured for a specific election independent of the San Francisco Department of Elections or other government agency of the City and County of San Francisco,

Second, the Commission adopts as policy that the Election Department shall endeavor in contracting to prioritize and select if possible, voting systems and vendors which provide the maximum level of security and transparency possible consistent with the principles of public disclosure. This policy will enable the citizenry to understand the methodology involved in the election process, in a manner consistent with ensuring secret ballot protection and voting system security.
We notice how all these initiatives tend to reinforce each other. We also thank you, the supporter of the open voting movement, as well as Debra Bowen, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the San Franciso Elections Department.
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