. Voting Software Open Test Now Law in Illinois Could Set Precedent | Open Voting Consortium

Voting Software Open Test Now Law in Illinois Could Set Precedent

From: Open Voting Consortium (Alan Dechert)

A bill that requires that "all test plans, test results, documentation, and other records used to plan, execute, record the results of the testing and verification" was signed into law on AUG 22nd by Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich (Dem).

OVC supporters in Illinois have already made requests for the URL where they can download the materials.

The part of interest to Open Voting is a just a few lines -- but potentially very powerful. The relevant section of HB1968 is on page 186, lines 19 through 25, and it reads as follows:

19 All test plans, test results,
20 documentation, and other records used to plan, execute, and
21 record the results of the testing and verification, including
22 all material prepared or used by independent testing
23 authorities or other third parties, shall be made part of the
24 public record and shall be freely available via the Internet
25 and paper copy to anyone.

Thanks to Cook County consultant and friend of OVC, Kevin McDermott, for writing the text.

The new law is likely to be challenged in court to determine exactly what vendors and test authorities have to turn over. I think the text is reasonably comprehensive. A fair interpretation would mean that source code would have to be published since some aspects of testing done by the test labs require the source code.

I suggested slighly more detailed "OpenTest" language but too late for inclusion in the Illinois bill:

Before a voting system is used in an election, all test plans, all automated and manual scripts, test results, and all information needed to reproduce these test results, documentation, bug tracking database, and other records used to plan, execute, and record the results of the testing and verification, including all material prepared or used by voting system testing laboratories or independent testing authorities or other third parties, shall be made part of the public record and shall be freely available via the Internet and paper copy to anyone.

The more states that get this into law, the more likely vendors and test labs will be forced to open up the whole process. We are working on language that will be in our Open Voting bill (to be introduced early next year) in California.

There is an educational process involved here. Recently, an OVC supporter in Ohio discussed OpenTest with Keith Cunningham, Director of the Allen County Board of Elections. Cunningham claimed that testing was already "public." I wrote Cunningham a letter.

People from about 20 states so far have expressed willingness to help get OpenTest introduced in their state legislature.

Onward! We have nothing to lose but proprietary secret voting systems.

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