The Village Voice reports that the viability of an open source electronic voting system is threatened “the State Board of Elections’ $2 million testing fee.” But Darlene Mealy, a Brooklyn City Council Member, is asking that the fee be waived. She is also pushing for a requirement that the voting equipment be based on accessible software:
Along with a series of resolutions designed to protect voters from intimidation and disenfranchisement in the City, Mealy has put forth City Council Resolution 961, which would seek to place a number of stipulations on the State’s eventual election vendor that none of the three major companies would be likely to meet, such as requiring the use of open-source software for voting machines. …
The questionable histories of the three major voting companies are enough to make anyone look for more transparent options. In August a report by Dan Rather on the HD Network revealed that Election Systems & Software had been knowingly shipping defective machines to its governmental customers. Sequoia’s machines have been found to undercount minority votes. And Diebold so destroyed its reputation through a variety of mistakes in its election division that the company changed its name.
The State Board of Elections, which will review the waiver request at the end of the month, requires companies that want to sell their equipment to pay for the testing. However, Open Voting Solutions is “willing to give [their system] away for free.” From their website:
Open standards are vital for public elections. But that is not enough by themselves. By using open source and off-the-shelf equipment together with open standards we are restoring trust in electronic voting systems and significantly reducing the costs.