Resolution introduced today would have San Francisco join statewide good government group working to replace privately-owned, "black box" software voting systems with publicly-viewable and shareable open source technology
San Francisco - At today's Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce a resolution calling for San Francisco to join the California Association of Voting Officials (CAVO), an organization formed to push for the creation of free, open source voting systems for elections. Open source voting means that the technology used to administer elections is publicly available, allowing for greater accountability and transparency. The current system consists of private vendors holding proprietary software that is unavailable for public review.
"To have truly free and fair elections, we need to have open and public review of how our voting systems work," said Supervisor Wiener. "By bringing our election systems out of the black box and into the light, we can ensure elections that have more integrity, less opportunity for fraud, and more accurate results. Black box voting software should be a thing of the past."
CAVO's goal is to create certified and freely shareable voting technology, which would enhance the quality, security and availability of voting systems available to counties. With this technology, counties could replace expensive proprietary hardware and software with common off-the-shelf hardware including tablets, printers, computers and scanners. By having free software, counties would be unburdened from the expensive, ongoing licensing costs paid to private vendors, and would only have to pay hardware and personnel costs to run elections. California spends over $100 million a year to run elections, a rate of $10 per ballot cast.
"It's long past time for voting systems to be transparent and secure," said Alec Bash, a member of the CAVO Advisory Board. "We need voting systems with free, open source software and inexpensive, off-the-shelf computer hardware."
Last year, State Senator Alex Padilla introduced and passed Senate Bill 360, which provided the regulatory relief to pave the way for open voting systems. CAVO, which was formed after SB 360 was passed, aims to provide open source voting systems and to provide training, education and management practices about open source voting. By becoming a member of CAVO, San Francisco would join sixteen other California counties, as well as supportive organizations like the Equal Justice Society and the National Organization of Women.