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Location: Germantown, Wisconsin, United States

I am a simple country boy transplanted from the Piehl Township in northern Wisconsin to the Milwaukee metropolitan area who came down "sout" in 1980 for college and have stayed in the area since.
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In Defense of VTI

There is something fishy about the NASED ITA qualification process.

Last Friday, March 29, 2007, I had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Anthony Boldin, the CEO and president of Voting Technologies International.  We discussed the certification status of VTI equipment in the State of Wisconsin.  During this conversation Mr. Bolding briefly touched on his travails with the NASED ITA qualification process for voting systems.

Since July 2006 the VTI system has been examined by the Wyle/Ciber team.  A report was generated and sent to theNASED Voting Systems Board Technical subcommittee. Questions were raised by the technical sub-committee.  The VTI system was returned for re-examination by the Wyle/Ciber team. A second report was generated and sent to the NASED Voting Systems Board Technical sub-committee. Questions were raised by the technical sub-committee.  The VTI system was returned for re-examination by the Wyle/Ciber team. A third report was generated and sent to the NASED Voting Systems Board Technical sub-committee. Questions were raised by the technical sub-committee. The VTI system was returned for re-examination by the Wyle/Ciber team. A fourth report was generated and sent to the NASED Voting Systems Board Technical sub-committee. Questions were raised by the technical sub-committee. The VTI system was returned for re-examination by the Wyle/Ciber team. A fifth report was generated and sent to the NASED Voting Systems Board Technical sub-committee.  As of a couple of weeks ago the status of the VTI system is pending before the NASED Voting Systems Board Technical sub-committee.

I believe I have this count correct.  Mr. Boldin was speaking quickly, but even if I am off by one this is incredible. 

While I am no fan of the extraordinarily weak 2002 Voting System Standards (VSS), I do expect the standards to be applied to all voting systems evenly.  I cannot see how this is the case with the VTI system.

The NASED ITA process qualified the Sequoia WinEDS system which is routinely installed with source code and the compiler for that source code.  This is a violation of paragraph 6.4.1.e of the 2002 VSS.  The NASED ITA process qualified the ES&S optical scanner firmware which is not stable.  Such stability is required to produce the physical configuration audit required by paragraph 8.7.1 of the 2002 VSS.  The NASED ITA process qualified the Diebold systems which use interpreted code.  The use of interpreted code is prohibited by 4.2.2 of the 2002 VSS.

Only four possibilities present themselves to me.  If there are others, please let me know.
1)  The VTI system has non-conformances more significant than the non-conformances found in other systems which have been qualified by the NASED ITA process.
2)  Every tittle and jot of the standards is applied to some systems, but not to other systems.
3)  VTI has not applied for a waiver to conform to sections 2002 Voting System Standards as provided by Appendix B.5 of the 2002 Voting System Standards.
4)  VTI has applied for such a waiver from conforming to the 2002 Voting System Standards but has not been granted such a waiver

It is time to know which of these of these possibilities are the case for VTI.  How is it non-conforming systems have been qualified by the NASED ITA process while other systems seem to languish in certification purgatory? It is time to start asking specific, pointed questions of those who created and administered this system from 1998 to the present.  Those adminstrators are R. Doug Lewis, Tom Wilkey, Paul Craft, Steven V. Freeman, and Britt Williams.  How is it over the course of four years EVERY time someone not paid by the vendors examines a voting system (RABA, SAIC, Compuware, John Hopkins, Harri Hursti, Harri Hursti again, California VSTAAB, FSU, University of Connecticut, Princeton, etc.) some new and significant failure is discovered?  How can NASED qualified systems have such deep, pervasive, and persistant flaws yet other systems stall out in the NASED qualification process?

The NASED ITA process is private and protected by trade secrets and non disclosure agreements.  It is time to issue subpoenas to these five people.

It is time for answers and it is time to get those answers under oath.

2 Comments:

Blogger Joseph Lorenzo Hall said...

What I don't understand is why it's still with the NASED process... is the deal that VTI started in that process and is sort of stuck with it? Why isn't this a part of the EAC VSTL process now?

Fri Apr 06, 10:37:00 PM CDT  
Blogger John Washburn said...

There is nothing in the EAC VSTL process now.

I am not even sure a single manufacturer has registered let alone submitted an application to certify a system under the EAC VSTL program.

So anything in the NASED ITA pipeline stays in the NASED ITA pipeline.

The EAC interim accredidation was
to handle the time after the NASED system stopped taking on new system and before the first lab was qualified by NIST under the NVLAP program.

Since there are now 2 NVLAP qualified VSTL process there is no EAC Interim process.

But, for VTI everything which started under the NASED ITA process stays under the NASED ITA process.

Sat Apr 07, 11:03:00 AM CDT  

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