ACR 242 Progress

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Wed Aug 11 2004 - 16:01:42 CDT

I testified at the CA State Senate Elections committee
(http://www.sen.ca.gov/ftp/sen/committee/STANDING/EL/_home1/PROFILE.HTM )
hearing about ACR 242. It passed 3-0! (I believe Poochigian and Perata
abstained).

I suppose the vote was a foregone conclusion, but it was worth going anyway.
The author (Goldberg) was not there and the chair (Perata) nearly postponed
the vote. Then Bob Reid (Goldberg's staff) offered to present the bill. If
I hadn't been there to answer questions, I think it would have been
postponed.

SoS Kevin Shelley's legislative aid, Willie Guerrero, joined us to present
the bill, and he spoke in favor of it.

The handout prepared by Goldberg's staff included a fair amount of material
from the OVC web site, including our "About Us" page and a couple of
newspaper articles (SJ Merc "Holy Grail" Editorial and the Clive Thompson
NYT article (A Really Open Election ... actually the reprint of it that
appeared in the Sacramento Bee).

In addition, there were a couple of letters from Richard Dawson (the OVC
friend that actually initiated the resolution): one to Goldberg and one he
wrote to Perata. There was a letter from Jim March which was rather pointed
and ended with "In any case, thank you for at least reading this far" with a
little smiley face emoticon (graphic, not text). And there was a nice
authoritative letter from Charlie Strauss which included, "...co-founder of
Verified Voting New Mexico, and a professional computer scientist at Los
Alamos National Laboratory (I do not represent the Laboratory or University
of California in this letter)." Maybe Charlie would post the whole text of
his excellent letter.

Then there were a couple of incredibly lame letters in opposition: one from
California Advocates, Inc. and another--even lamer, if that's
possible--letter from AeA ( www.aeanet.org ). The gist of the opposition
letters is that we should consider all technologies, open source or not.
Let's see [scratching head], haven't we already been considering all the
proprietary software--exclusively--over the past 40 years or so? Bottom
line in their reasoning seems that if Shelley considers open source then
they lose their monopoly on closed source, and they don't like it.

I prepared a short statement to hand out. Pursuant to recent discussions
about what's official OVC, I titled it "Alan Dechert's statement regarding
ACR 242" and said stuff like, "I feel that more serious investigations are
appropriate..." so that the statements are not necessarily official OVC
positions (although I don't think anyone here would disagree with what I
said).

At one point, someone (maybe the Republican consultant) asked Willie
Guerrero if Shelley needed this resolution to gain the authority to do it
(investigate open source). Guerrero said, "no." Then the Rep said, "so
he's going to do it anyway." Guerrero said, "we're looking into it."
Perata said, "I think I just heard him say, 'yes,' he's going to do it."

I will write a letter to all the CA State Senators. The point is not so
much to win the vote (we expect to do that), but get people warmed up to the
idea. Please write letters to CA State Senators (
http://www.senate.ca.gov/~newsen/senators/senators.htp )

I will also write a more personalized detailed letter to Senator Murray. He
asked a couple of good questions that I really didn't have enough time to
answer satisfactorily. Both were really chain-of-custody issues. The first
one, more specifically, was about the development model (getting source
included willy-nilly from contributors all over the globe). The other was
about the possibility of malware being inserted into open source.

Senator Ross Johnson (a Republican) spoke eloquently IN FAVOR of the
resolution (I don't think we had a single Republican supporter in the
Assembly).
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:08 2004

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