Hon. John Suchandso
Secretary of State
123 Fake Street
Anytown, AA 12345
February 26, 2007
Dear Mr. Secretary Suchandso,
My name is Anthony Danielsen, and I write to you as a United States citizen deeply concerned about the integrity of our voting system. I am not affiliated with any organization.
Enclosed with this letter is a copy of Brave New Ballot, by Dr. Aviel Rubin. Dr. Rubin is a Professor of Computer Science and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. I have provided his book to you and to each of your counterpart Secretaries of State because I found it to be a thorough, accessible resource detailing the issues surrounding electronic voting systems. I hope that you find it useful.
I served as an election officer in Henrico County, Virginia for the 2006 midterm election. It was a highly worthwhile experience that I look forward to repeating. My fellow volunteers were experienced and dedicated, and procedurally the day ran flawlessly. I was prepared for the unfortunate reality that without a paper audit trail we could not objectively prove that our precinct’s results were valid. What I was unprepared for was the meaningful percentage of voters who had serious difficulties navigating the touch screen ballots. Those who assume that familiarity with the graphical user interface is ubiquitous do a huge disservice to these voters.
I believe that we need to take a big step back and restate the problems that we were we trying to solve, then assess how well electronic voting machines actually solve them.
Our voting system should be a point of national pride, trusted and understood by all citizens, and used as the gold standard worldwide. It is far too precious a thing to entrust to proprietary black boxes produced by the private sector, whose interest in secure and accurate elections is at best secondary.
Thank you for your time and consideration.