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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Free Electronic Voting Software / hardware?


From: Ramana Kumar
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Free Electronic Voting Software / hardware?
Date: Sat, 12 May 2012 08:16:11 +0100

Dear Art

I found this http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Sede by searching for "voting" in the FSF directory.
There may be some related links there too.
I'm not sure it matches your requirements exactly, but it may be a good start.
It might be worthwhile thinking about writing something especially for your purpose - if you went that way, hopefully you'd be able to find a hacker or too here or elsewhere (maybe local) who'd be interested.

Cheers,
Ramana

On Sat, May 12, 2012 at 3:05 AM, <address@hidden> wrote:
Hello,

I'm an elected Town Meeting member in Billerica, MA.  We have just passed an article to implement electronic voting at future Town Meetings (Target date is the fall 2012 session), and I have been appointed to the committee that will be choosing the hardware and software that will be used.

Does any one know of an EVS system that uses Free / Open software?

This is not for elections and other widely dispersed voting such as the Debian folks use - it is more of an "audience response" system.  We have an approximate maximum of 250 representatives, that all meet in the same room at the same time, and vote on things as a body.  The electronic voting system will be replacing the use of voice votes, standing counts and other such methods.

The assumption is that each representative will have some form of "clicker" on the order of a simple TV remote control that they will use indicate their vote, with some sort of wireless data collection and tabulation.  Obviously the hardware for such a system will need to be purchased (and there are many vendors of such systems), but I'd like to choose a system that used FLOSS for the software side of it....

An approximate list of system requirements...

1. Support for at least 250 representatives - who must be individually identifiable, as recent changes in our Open Meeting laws seem to require that votes be done in a roll-call manner, as well as preventing double voting, etc.

2. For better or worse, must be capable of interoperating with the existing Town software infrastructure, which is mostly proprietary (Microsoft) based.

3. Ideally be limited in range so that only representatives that are actually IN the room at the time can vote (so that all debate is heard, we don't want folks voting who are out in the hall or in the restroom voting w/o having heard the debate...)

4. Must have the ability to support electronic "queuing" to more readily allow people wishing to speak on an issue to line up (currently this is one of our most controversial problems as manually looking for raised hands inevitably leads to "race conditions" of who was first, and whether or not people were seen, etc...)

5. Support at least Yes, No, and Abstain votes, quorum counts, and other such measures that a meeting might require.  (while staying reasonably simple and "user friendly")

6. Use hardware that is readily available and likely to continue to remain so, in order to allow replacement of lost / broken voting units.  The voting hardware should also be ADA compliant / handicapped usable.

7. Be easy for the people doing check-in / out to administer in terms of distributing the voting units and collecting them at the end of a meeting. (during any given meeting, a particular rep. must be linked to a particular unit, but the link does not necessarily need to be retained between meetings...)

Thanks,
ART
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Arthur Torrey
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