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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 23

    Document Title
    Report of the Joint Subcommittee Studying the Certification, Performance, and Deployment of Voting Equipment - 2004 Interim

    Joint Subcommittee

    Enabling Authority
    HJR 174 (Regular Session, 2004)

    Executive Summary
    Executive Summary - 2004 Interim
    Joint Subcommittee Studying the Certification, Performance, and Deployment of Voting Equipment
    (HJR 174, 2004)

    House Joint Resolution 174, agreed to during the 2004 Session of the General Assembly, established a joint subcommittee to study the certification, performance, and deployment of voting equipment.

    The study charges the joint subcommittee to "(i) review the procedures and processes for the certification of voting equipment, (ii) consider the comparative merits of alternative voting systems, (iii) examine procedures for the storage, set-up, deployment, handling and decertification of voting equipment, (iv) review processes for dealing with election day problems with voting equipment, and (v) study the proper procedure for handling voting equipment pending election recounts and contests." The joint subcommittee is required to complete its work in time for the 2006 Session of the General Assembly.

    The joint subcommittee organized and met on August 16, 2004, and elected Delegate Timothy D. Hugo, Chairman, and Senator William C. Mims, Vice-Chairman.

    At its August meeting, members heard two presentations.

    ●--First, Hoyt M. Warren, Jr., CISM, CACI International Inc., described the just-completed study on the Development of Security Policy, Standards and Guidelines for Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Systems that he conducted for the State Board of Elections (SBE) in conjunction with IFES (International Foundation for Election Systems) representatives.

    DRE voting systems are the first completely computerized voting systems and include touch-screen equipment commonly compared to ATM screens. He noted that the DRE equipment is "arguably the most versatile and user-friendly of current voting systems" but also the subject of much public debate concerning the possible manipulation of the equipment and its security vulnerabilities.

    The study concludes that the use of DRE equipment must be accompanied by a formal SBE-level DRE voting systems security program and jurisdiction-specific local electoral board voting security programs. The local programs must be formal, documented, and cover risk assessment, security procedures, training, and monitoring. He distributed an executive summary and more detailed outline of the study.

    Jean Jensen, Secretary of the SBE, reported that the Board has received the July 23rd report and will be reviewing it to provide for implementation.

    ●--Second, Michael I. Shamos, Institute for Software Research International, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, outlined the pros and cons of DRE voting systems and voter verified paper ballots or trails. He emphasized that DRE systems have been in use for 25 years without a verified incident of tampering. However, he noted that there is a public perception that DRE systems are subject to tampering as a result of well-publicized studies pointing to security problems with the equipment.

    He reviewed the pros and cons of the most frequently proposed cure for DRE security problems -- a paper record of each vote that the voter can review and verify. The advantages are that the paper trail will demonstrate to the voter that the machine has captured his votes correctly and will create a sense of security among voters. He described the disadvantages of a paper trail: no guarantee the vote was counted or that the paper will be secured for a recount; massive paper handling and securing of the paper; slowing the count; accessibility issues; voter confusion and doubt; questioning of the machines when nothing is wrong; and an increased demand for recounts.

    His advice was to await the outcome of the November 2004 election when paper trails for DRE equipment will be used in California, Missouri, and Nevada.

    The joint subcommittee reached the consensus that it would await the outcome of the November 2004 election for further evaluation of proposals to improve the present procedures in the Commonwealth that govern the certification, performance, and deployment of voting equipment and related issues.

    A full and final report of the joint subcommittee will be submitted in time for the 2006 Session of the General Assembly.