SF Seal

SF Open Source Voting TAC

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

Meeting Minutes: September 12, 2019 (approved November 14, 2019)

Elections Commission
City and County of San Francisco
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 12, 2019
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 6:11 p.m. Present: Members Jerdonek, Kattouw, Wasserman. Member Hage arrived at 6:12. Chair Jerdonek reported that William Walker was no longer working as the Elections Commission Secretary, so there was no Secretary for the meeting.

2. General Public Comment

Mr. Tim Fong commented on the openness of the OSVTAC. He explained that he could not understand how the OSVTAC operated since he expected it to follow the procedures of openness used by most open source projects. Chair Jerdonek noted that this item was not on the agenda and that he would be glad to explain it privately offline. Member Wasserman noted that the OSVTAC was not in itself an open source project, and was never intended to write any code for the project. Chair Jerdonek explained further that the OSVTAC was an advisory group to the Elections Commission, and that the project itself was being developed by the Department of Technology.

3. Open Source Voting Project Plan (6:16 p.m.)

Chair Jerdonek reported that this item was a placeholder for a possible report by City CIO Gerull, who was unable to attend.

Public comment: None.

4. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings (6:17 p.m.)

Public comment: None.

Member Kattouw moved (Member Hage seconded) to approve the minutes of the April 21, 2019 and June 8, special meetings of the OSVTAC. The motion carried unanimously.

Chair Jerdonek noted that the OSVTAC would have to produce the minutes from previous meetings since the committee no longer had a Secretary. Chair Jerdonek volunteered to prepare the minutes of the May 14, 2019 OSVTAC meeting. Member Kattouw volunteered to prepare the minutes of the June 13, 2019 OSVTAC meeting, and Member Wasserman agreed to prepare the minutes of the September 12, 2019 meeting.

5. Administration (6:23 p.m.)

The Committee discussed possible dates for future OSVTAC meetings. Meetings were tentatively planned for November 14, 2019, and December 5, 2019, with the October meeting date still uncertain.

Member Wasserman agreed to report on behalf of the OSVTAC at the next Regular Elections Commission meeting on Wednesday, September 18.

Chair Jerdonek noted that the regular report of the OSVTAC to the Elections Commission was due, and that he had created an outline for it. The OSVTAC then worked to fill in the contents of the report. Items included information on presentations by Member Wasserman on the Open Source Voting Project at two open source conferences, a set of security recommendations prepared by Member Hage addressing implementation of digital signatures, and Member Kattouw’s report on AB 1784 regarding the status of State matching funds for open source voting, which was not included in this year’s State budget. The report also included a summary of Director Gerull’s presentation at the May 14, 2019, OSVTAC meeting, and a request to have more interaction with the Department of Technology in the future.

Member Wasserman made a motion to approve this report. Member Kattouw seconded the motion, which was then approved unanimously.

Public comment: None.

6. Member Reports (6:33 p.m.)

The Committee discussed the July 31st Community Meeting organized by the Department of Technology, which was attended by most of the OSVTAC members. The Committee members agreed that the meeting was productive in reaching a common set of goals and attendee expectations for the Open Source Voting Project.

Member Wasserman reported on his presentations at the O’Reilly Open Source Conference (OSCON) and the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit North America on July 17 and August 22 respectively. Both talks described the Open Source Voting Project, and differed only in describing the Community meeting, which occurred after the first presentation. Member Wasserman noted that the talks focused on describing the complexity of implementing a large election such as San Francisco’s and the complications of managing the voting process.

Chair Jerdonek reported on upcoming relevant events in the Bay Area. One is the GET Summit (Global Elections and Technology). The other is a conference organized by Jim Soper, to be held in Berkeley in early October.

Member Hage reported on the recent DEFCON conference, which includes a voting village. The voting village workshop brings in various voting machines, and allows people to try to find security problems in them. Member Hage noted that almost all of the machines were compromised, sometimes because of simple flaws, such as failing to protect access to Compact Flash storage.

Member Wasserman had sent out information on an election held in the Netherlands for which the source code had been published, and included links to the code and the related documentation. The code, however, was copyrighted by the firm that did the implementation, so it is not available under an open source license. Much of the report was written in Dutch, so Member Kattouw provided further explanation, pointing out that the software only manages results aggregation.

Public comment: Mr. Tim Fong added a comment.

7. Topics for future discussion (6:53 p.m.)

Member Kattouw suggested that we might want to run the ORR prototype software on the upcoming November, 2019, election.

Chair Jerdonek noted that the committee should return to its work on recommendations. In particular, the TAC should address the topic of governance, continuing the work started by Brandon Phillips when he was a member of the Committee.

Chair Jerdonek also suggested that the TAC could continue our work related to a Contributor License Agreement, which will be needed to support the Voting System project.

Public comment: Mr. Tim Fong asked about the roles of various people who were named in the preceding discussion. There was also a suggestion that the City create a foundation for the governance of the project.

8. Voting System Component Development (7:50 p.m.)

Attendance for this agenda item was optional. Members discussed the existing implementation of the prototype Results Reporting module, and their wishes for future enhancements. One topic was interoperability with the new version of the software being used by the Department of Elections, which is being upgraded.

Public comment: None.

Adjourned at 8:24 p.m.