California Top-to-Bottom Review Complete; Early Reports Outline Vulnerabilities

Update – August 1 – Senator Feinstein (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, has announced she will hold a hearing on this report sometime in September. This report *may* also come up in tomorrow’s scheduled hearing of the Elections Subcommittee of the Committee on House Administration, as the chair and ranking member are both from California.

Original Post – July 30

At 10 a.m. Pacific time today, The California Secretary of State’s office convened a public hearing on the results of its top-to-bottom review of three voting systems used in the state (while there are more than three different systems used in California, some are being phased out and one was not submitted in time for the review). It is still going on as I write this, and can be watched at (my connection is spotty at best, so the webcast may be overburdened by widespread interest).

This review was announced in May, and many of the relevant documents are available at the Secretary of State’s website. In short, the state contracted with the University of California to have separate teams review the voting systems, to include a “review of documents and studies associated with each voting system, a review of the computer source code each machine relies on, and a red team penetration attack to see if the system’s security can be compromised.” While all of the teams have submitted their reports, the Secretary of State is reviewing the document and source code review reports to see if they would disclose any security sensitive information. So all that can be reviewed today are the red team reports and the accessibility reports.
Continue reading “California Top-to-Bottom Review Complete; Early Reports Outline Vulnerabilities”

Key Senate Committee to Hold E-Voting Reform Hearing

With news that Representative Holt’s e-voting reform legislation has stalled (reported in New York Times) attention turns to the Senate this week as it holds a hearing on Senator Feinstein’s e-voting reform legislation. On Wednesday at 10:00 AM, the Senate Rules Committee will hold its first hearing on the Senator’s legislation S. 1487 — The Ballot Integrity Act.

The Senator’s bill is similar in many respects to Representative Holt’s legislation. However, it has some notable differences including a deadline of 2010 (instead of 2008) for replacing Direct Recording Electronic machines with ones that have durable voter-verified paper ballots, more comprehesive software disclosure requirements, and a more flexible auditing scheme for conducting post-election audits.

The hearing should be webcast. You can find the link here, and here is the witness list:

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States Senate

Panel 1:
The Honorable Deborah L. Markowitz
Vermont Secretary of State
Past President, National Association of Secretaries of State
Montpelier, VT

Mr. George N. Gilbert
Director, Guilford County Board of Elections
Greensboro, NC

Ms. Wendy Noren
Boone County Clerk
Columbia, MO
Representing National Association of Counties

Dr. Michael I. Shamos
Professor, School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

Mr. Ray Martinez
Policy Adviser, The Pew Center on the States
Former Member, Election Assistance Commission
Austin, TX

Panel 2:
Ms. Mary Wilson
League of Women Voters
Washington, DC

Mr. Doug Lewis
Executive Director
The Election Center
Houston, TX

Ms. Tanya Clay House
Director of Public Policy
People for the American Way
Washington, DC

We have not heard when the Senate Rules Committee may take up Senator Feinstein’s legislation, but we don’t expect action before the August recess.

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 23

July 24
The American Association for the Advancement of Science will hold a briefing on the next generation of science education leaders.
8:30 a.m., B-354 Rayburn Building

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a hearing on inadvertent file sharing in peer-to-peer networks.
10 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Building

July 25
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee will hold a hearing on the Ballot Integrity Act of 2007.
10 a.m., 301 Russell Building

July 26
The House Science and Technology Committee will hold the second hearing in a series on the globalization of R&D.
10 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on the transition to digital television.
10 a.m., 253 Russell Building

House Ways and Means Committee Introduces Social Security Number Bill

Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a bill to reduce identity theft through restricting the use of the Social Security Number (SSN). After a series of 16 hearings on the issue, including one where USACM-EC Member Annie Antón testified, the Committee cited the easy availability of the SSN and its common use as an identifier as reasons it contributes to identity theft. The draft bill is available on the Committee’s website. While that bill is unnumbered, the Committee is referring to it as HR3046, the Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Protection Act of 2007.
Continue reading “House Ways and Means Committee Introduces Social Security Number Bill”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 16

July 17
The Technology and Innovation Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on the next 25 years of the Bayh-Dole Act, which allowed researchers to retain patent rights to things made through federally-funded research.
1 p.m., 2318 Rayburn Building

July 18
The Secure ID Coalition and the Smart Card Alliance will sponsor a briefing on making government issued identity documents secure while protecting privacy.
10 a.m., H-137 Capitol Building

TGDC Meeting Rescheduled for August 17; EAC Commissioner seeking public input

According to the Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) website, the plenary meeting originally scheduled for July 3 (and subject of an earlier post on this blog) will now take place on August 17. It will still take place by teleconference, from 11:30-5:30 Eastern time. Further details will be available by July 30 at the TGDC website. At this meeting the TGDC will finalize it draft of the next set of Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG).

There are a series of conference calls scheduled this month for the various TGDC subcommittees, you can find more information on those meetings online. Given the schedule, it is not surprising that the previously established July 31 deadline for submitting the TGDC draft to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has slipped. That said, given the rush to develop standards following the passage of the Help America Vote Act, it would be preferable to have the document go to the EAC late, but without outstanding technical questions.
Continue reading “TGDC Meeting Rescheduled for August 17; EAC Commissioner seeking public input”

Hill Tech Happenings, Week of July 9

July 11
The Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on wireless innovation and consumer protection.
10 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Building

July 12
The Senate Judiciary Committee will mark up pending legislation, including the Patent Reform Act of 2007.
10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Building

The House Appropriations Committee will markup proposed FY 2008 appropriations for the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee.
Time TBA, 2359 Rayburn Building

ACM Washington Update, Vol. 11.6 (July 3, 2007)


[1] Newsletter Highlights
[2] USACM Members Go to the Hill: Employment Eligibility Verification System
[3] USACM Members Go to the Hill Again: Social Security Numbers
[4] TGDC Final Meeting on Next VVSG Postponed
[5] New York Times Report on Military Overseas Voting
[6] Spyware Bill Would Define Zombies
[7] About USACM
Continue reading “ACM Washington Update, Vol. 11.6 (July 3, 2007)”

Final Technical Meeting to Take Place on Next Voting System Guidelines – Postponed

Update – As noted by one of our readers, the meeting has been postponed. Per the TGDC Website:

July 3, 2007 Plenary Meeting — CANCELLED — Due to open issues related to the next VVSG that require further review, this plenary teleconference has been canceled. This meeting will be rescheduled in the near future and we will make that information available at this website.

There are TGDC Subcommittee meetings scheduled through July, so this could run right up to the July 31 deadline for submitting the TGDC draft to the EAC.

Original Post
The Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC) will hold its final meeting on the next version of the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) on July 3. Unlike its previous plenary sessions, this meeting will take place via teleconference. Anyone can call in to the meeting, and it will be webcast. There are many resources available on the meeting’s webpage.
Continue reading “Final Technical Meeting to Take Place on Next Voting System Guidelines – Postponed”