Re: mechanicals for an open voting system

From: Ed Kennedy <ekennedyx_at_yahoo_dot_com>
Date: Sat Jun 24 2006 - 19:54:26 CDT


One of the major selling points is the Diebold TSx and similar is that they
are ADA compliant. Here in San Diego, we use the latest Diebold product and
I even had the misfortune to have to set one up and run one in a special
election last April for the 50th congressional district. Frankly, the
equipment is only ADA compliant for people with vision problems or who
cannot read. While the unit can be tilted nearly horizontal on its aluminum
pipe A frame it still is a little too high for those confined to a wheel
chair. The wheel chair issue is poorly handled instead by a special
cardboard voting booth that is extra wide and has it's shelf on a lower
level. The voter is handed a paper ballot instead of being directed to the
touch screen. By the way, nearly all the voting 'furniture' booths,
equipment stands and so forth is made our of corrugated card board. Apart
from the clerks table (typically a banquet table) the only other robustly
constructed thing is the stand built into the Diebold touch machine. It is
built out of telescoping aluminum tubes which pull out and swing open to
form a full height A style frame. My actual point here is that it would be
a real plus if your design could accommodate those people in wheelchairs.

Thanks, Ed Kennedy

In the two elections I've participated in this year, no one has actually
used the Diebold touch screen equipment.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf
Of Tom McCarty
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 2:53 PM
To: Open Voting Consortium discussion list
Subject: Re: [OVC-discuss] mechanicals for an open voting system

Thanks, Edmund, I read about three months of the archives but I'll keep
going back.

I wholeheartedly agree that it has to be user friendly. I expect at
least half a dozen prototypes before something acceptable is arrived at,
and several more for manufacturing ease (if it ever gets there).


Edmund R. Kennedy wrote:

>Don't forget that you need to build some sort of
>printer enclosure. If you will dig down into the
>correspondence archives, there was considerable
>discussion about this issue at one time. The basic
>enclosure has to accomodate a number of different
>printer designs, be able to be opened in case of jams
>and vandal resistant. Also, the printer, along with
>any other enclosure, has to be designed to accomodate
>tamper evident seals for election day.
>I cannot emphasize too much that this equipment has to
>be user friendly and the typical user will have a very
>low amount of mechanical apptitude. You might want to
>study the kludge printer added to the Diebold TSx in
>California for things not to do.
>Thanks, Ed Kennedy
>--- Tom McCarty <> wrote:
>>Hello all,
>>I was added to this list just recently, but have
>>been a monthly
>>supporter of OVC (albeit a small one) since Nov.
>>2004, and finally have
>>some time to donate to the cause.
>>What I'm interested in doing is designing and
>>prototyping the
>>mechanicals to support the EVM2003 software so that
>>real demonstrations
>>of the system could be done. This would include a
>>secure case for the
>>computer, as well as fabrication of the voting booth
>>and any other
>>associated mechanicals parts. I have a small
>>machine shop, and can
>>design, machine, and fabricate anything needed. All
>>work done would be
>>"open design", covered under one of the free
>>licenses so anyone could
>>make their own voting system by buying the parts on
>>the BOM, and going
>>to a machine shop with the freely available
>>I have so many questions with branching
>>possibilities, I'm not sure
>>where to start. I've read everything on the OVC
>>website and the EVM2003
>>sourceforge site, yet I still feel like I'm coming
>>out of left field in
>>trying to actually build a system.
>>First off, has anyone else worked on the mechanicals
>>of an open voting
>>system? Is there already a demo system somewhere?
>>If not, what do
>>people do for demonstrations now? Is EVM2003 far
>>enough along that a
>>demo can even be shown, or has it been abandoned in
>>favor of making
>>existing vendors improve their offerings? I don't
>>see much recent
>>discussion of EVM, and the lack of pictures on the
>>website and the use
>>of "an open voting system will..." rather than "our
>>open voting is..."
>>is not encouraging.
>>The OVC website says that refurbished PCs can be
>>used, but I really
>>think an industrial single-board computer (SBC) is
>>the way to go.
>>Rolling out a voting system across a sprawling state
>>like California
>>using thousands upon thousands of refurbished PCs
>>sounds like a
>>nightmare, even assuming you could find enough
>>machines with all the I/O
>>and the video resolution you require. Since most
>>systems work best with
>>different device drivers, you can't just use one
>>disk image for all
>>machines, either, and having hundreds of different
>>kinds of PCs will
>>make for longer service times whenever something
>>does go wrong.
>>I propose using an industrial SBC in the EPIC format
>>(which has
>>multi-vendor support) like the EPX-GX from
>>The biggest advantage of industrial SBCs is that
>>identical boards, down
>>to individual components, are produced for years.
>>These WinSystems
>>boards are $470 each in quantity 100 - a bit more
>>than usual - but these
>>boards will be available for another 7-10 years,
>>significantly reducing
>>maintenance headaches over this time. Because of
>>their long lifetime,
>>industrial PCs are well-designed and actually
>>tested, unlike commodity
>>PCs, which reduce failure over time. There are many
>>more issues about
>>SBC requirements, like storage (disk-on-chip for
>>booting, and voting
>>data on CD-ROM?) and interconnection (ethernet?
>>serial? USB?) to be
>>figured out, but that's enough for now.
>>Next would be a secure case for the SBC to control
>>physical access.
>>Rather than having a black or beige box for a voting
>>machine, clear
>>lexan could be used to allow an unobstructed view at
>>the interior
>>components. I think it would be great for
>>demonstrations, esp. for
>>people that have difficulty visualizing computer
>>security concepts (like
>>reporters). A clear enclosure would give a strong
>>visual reminder that
>>this is an "open" system, and would make for some
>>good pictures on the
>>website, too. It could use a real lock (like
>>Medeco) for I/O access,
>>and yet another lock for technician-level board
>>The final obvious part is a stand to hold the
>>touch-screen, computer,
>>UPS, and printer, as well as blinders to keep others
>>from seeing the
>>screen. I don't even want to speculate on the
>>design for this until
>>figuring out the PC & case issues, but it should be
>>a simple human
>>factors analysis and lots of sheet metal.
>>Obviously, my proposed design is not the cheapest
>>possible design, but
>>given that there's no profit margin or R&D costs to
>>recover, it should
>>still be 25%-50% cheaper than Sequoia or Diebold
>>equipment, and offer
>>unparallel security, reliability, and
>>maintainability. My thought it
>>that the best way to compete with the big commercial
>>vendors is not on
>>price alone, but rather, with a system that is
>>ultra-reliable. When it
>>comes down to it, election workers just want
>>elections to happen without
>>any problems, and they care about reliability and
>>ease of use more than
>>they care about security, so I think starting the
>>design with a
>>high-reliability industrial PC is the best way to
>>insure this, even if
>>it does make the system more expensive than
>>absolutely needed.
>>So, what do you all think? Is this a good thing to
>>work on, or would it
>>be a waste of time? Am I missing some huge piece of
>>the puzzle? I have
>>no idea where this might lead to (design docs on OVC
>>website? a single
>>demo system? or even a company that manufactures OV
>>hardware?), I just
>>see a necessary piece that hasn't been done, and I
>>am trying to do it.
>> Tom
>>ps: to see some other projects I've worked on, check
>>OVC-discuss mailing list

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Received on Fri Jun 30 23:17:11 2006

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