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Official site of the San Francisco Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee (OSVTAC)

Meeting Minutes: September 13, 2018 (approved October 11, 2018)

Elections Commission
City and County of San Francisco
Don Chan, Secretary
Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee
Christopher Jerdonek, Chair
Roan Kattouw, Vice Chair
Carl Hage
Tony Wasserman
Open Source Voting System Technical Advisory Committee (OSVTAC)
of the San Francisco Elections Commission
Thursday, September 13, 2018
6:00 p.m.
City Hall, Room 421
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, California 94102

Order of Business

1. Call to Order & Roll Call

Chair Jerdonek called the meeting to order at 6:07 p.m. Present: Members Hage, Jerdonek, Wasserman. Member Kattouw was excused absent. The committee has one vacancy. Also present: Secretary Chan.

2. General Public Comment


3. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings

Member Wasserman suggested an amendment to the August minutes. With that, he moved to approve both minutes documents, seconded by Member Hage. By voice vote, the motion carried, 3-0.

Public comment: none.

4. Administration

Public comment: none.

5. Member Reports

Chair Jerdonek referred to the documents in the packet. The Project Manager job description has already been posted on the City’s job site. Regarding the description Member Wasserman said it would be good to have Microsoft project management experience.

The discussion revolved around whether the requirements were too much overall or too slanted in some direction (e.g. technology or election process). It was decided that the Committee should write a statement in regards to the job description that lays out its position on what most relevant experience and skills the candidate should have. Member Wasserman will draft it and Chair Jerdonek will finalize and send to the Commission. Member Hage so moved, Chair Jerdonek seconded. Upon voice vote, the motion carried, 3-0.

Chair Jerdonek referred to the documents regarding Los Angeles County’s voting system project. He made a public records request for the source code and received a reply that the code was exempt from disclosure. It is apparently not open source, nor even disclosed, so the press release about it being open source is false. Member Hage stated that software subject to public scrutiny carries less risk of hacking than closed source software.

The Committee was concerned that LA County’s representation of open source would mislead others into erroneous opinions about open source. Member Wasserman volunteered to contact people in the Software Conservancy, OSI, and the Free Software Foundation to let them know about that, and to let them take the lead in clarifying things.

Public comment:

Mr. Ben Burkert commented that it seemed odd that LA County’s project is called open source, since it doesn’t pass muster. They should provide the license for it.

On the matter of the election activities observation, Chair Jerdonek asked if the Committee wanted to do any of them as a committee or individually. It was decided that Chair Jerdonek will try to set up an appointment to do an observation on Thursday, October 11, and then have the committee meeting after.

There was a short discussion about the document Member Kattouw provided regarding San Mateo’s election processes. Member Wasserman also reported on his speaking engagement at Santa Clara County Citizens Advisory Committee on Elections (CACE). It was sparsely attended and there didn’t seem to be much excitement about the San Francisco project. No significant questions were raised.

6. Voting System Component Development

Chair Jerdonek reported that he added to TAC’s sample data repository the one hundred or so PDF scans of ballots received from the Department. He asked if Member Hage could do an inventory of the types. Member Hage said he is having some problems with the scans due to inconsistency in their resolution/sharpness.

On the question of the City and County having copyright ownership of TAC’s work, Chair Jerdonek said the Deputy City Attorney advised that technically the City and County should probably have copyright, but that it probably won’t be an issue. It is something that TAC could do at a later date.

Member Hage asked how the sample data should be organized, e.g. doing it by date at the top level and adding subdirectories if there are more counties. He will do a subdirectory for each of the June and November elections. There was a question of SHA files data and whether the Department had any.

Public comment:

Mr. Ben Burkert said he has had experience with such a copyright issue, and it is a pain. Maybe set up a contributor’s license agreement (CLA).

7. Committee Recommendations

No discussion.

8. Topics for future discussion

It was suggested to revisit the CLA topic.

Public comment:

Mr. Jim Soper mentioned that he met with Gavin Newsom. He seemed to be aware of the project but didn’t know that the funding effort did not make it into the State budget. He was asked to send Newsom a memo regarding this.

Adjourned at 7:47 p.m.