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

Draft Meeting Minutes: February 13, 2020

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, February 13, 2020
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 6:01 p.m. Present: Members Hage, Jerdonek, Kattouw, Wasserman. The committee has one vacancy.

2. General Public Comment


3. VotingWorks Presentation

Chair Jerdonek reported that Ben Adida of VotingWorks had to cancel his appearance at today’s meeting. He was very apologetic but would like to attend the April meeting if possible.

The committee proceeded to discuss VotingWorks’s open source risk-limiting audit (RLA) software anyways, which is called Arlo and is the successor of the RLA software written by Free & Fair and used by the State of Colorado.

After discussion, Member Wasserman moved that TAC adopt the following recommendation for presentation to the Elections Commission, the Department of Technology, and the Department of Elections:

TAC recommends that the Department of Elections and the Department of Technology review the status and roadmap of the open source Arlo project (available at https://github.com/votingworks/arlo) for possible use for risk-limiting audits in San Francisco (including for ranked-choice voting contests) and to report on the findings and use them in future planning.

Seconded by Member Hage.

Public comment: None.

The motion passed unanimously (4 - 0).

4. Los Angeles County VSAP (Voting Solutions for all People)

Chair Jerdonek reported that Los Angeles County’s VSAP was in the news a lot recently and mentioned the documents in the agenda packet. Member Hage summarized the background and some of the recent controversy.

The committee proceeded to discuss some of these issues, including whether LA County would ever make the system open source.

Chair Jerdonek mentioned that Smartmatic contacted him about the hardware that Smartmatic manufactured for Los Angeles County’s VSAP. They will be selling that hardware to other jurisdictions and are willing to answer questions.

The committee also discussed California SB 360 (2013-2014), which includes the requirement of being disclosed source.

Public comment: None.

5. San Francisco’s Open Source Voting Project

Chair Jerdonek reported that he delivered to the Commission TAC’s recommendation of nine “next steps” for the open source voting project that TAC adopted at its last meeting. The Commission voted to request that Director Gerull provide her response to the recommendations, so that should be happening next week.

Chair Jerdonek also summarized an open letter that a group named OSES (Open Source Election Systems) sent to the City and County of San Francisco. TAC discussed the contents of the letter.

Member Kattouw said the letter sounded appealing, but it lacked details. Member Wasserman said he wanted to see a roadmap.

Member Wasserman moved that TAC invite representatives of OSES to attend one of TAC’s next meetings at their earliest convenience, to discuss details around their letter. Seconded by Member Kattouw.

Public comment: None.

The motion passed unanimously (4 - 0).

6. Approval of Minutes of Previous Meetings

Chair Jerdonek apologized that he didn’t have any of the draft minutes documents ready, so this agenda item was skipped.

7. Administration

Committee members said our regular next meeting day of March 12 would work for everyone. Member Kattouw can attend the next Elections Commission meeting to report on TAC’s activities.

Member Kattouw reported that he had started the tri-annual report that was due in January but hadn’t finished it yet. Chair Jerdonek thought it would be better to have the report ready for next month’s meeting as opposed to trying to finish it during the meeting.

Public comment: None.

8. Member Reports

Member Hage reported that he read the California Voting System Standards (CVSS). He noticed that in doing our own recommendations document, we were rewriting a lot of that content. He said that the CVSS requires all reports produced by the system to be digitally signed, but he has never seen evidence of digitally signed files. He was wondering if this issue could be taken up by the Commission on a broader scale.

Member Hage said he found that a number of other counties use OmniBallot, so he was able to get more data, including translations.

Chair Jerdonek gave an update on Santa Clara County’s Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Elections (CACE) motion to support collaborating with San Francisco on an open source voting system. They want to know what collaborating with San Francisco would “look like.” Chair Jerdonek said they need to be in touch with Director Gerull to find this answer, so he is working on connecting them.

Public comment: None.

9. Topics for future discussion

Member Wasserman mentioned two items: inviting OSES to a future meeting, and seeing if the committee can have further discussion with the Department of Technology.

Member Hage suggested discussing the results of any research we do on RLA software.

Chair Jerdonek asked the committee members if they would be interested in having Smartmatic attend to discuss their hardware, since we are already having OSES and VotingWorks. Committee members thought sometime over the summer might be good, after OSES speaks with us in March and VotingWorks in April.

Public comment: None.

10. Voting System Component Development

Attendance for the remainder of the meeting is optional for committee members, as noted in the agenda.

Member Wasserman departed at the beginning of this item.

Member Hage reported on his progress, including processing the OmniBallot data. Member Kattouw noted that the Department of Elections had posted the HTML summary for the zero report, but not any of the detail files. Member Hage asked if there was any way we could find the date the detail files will be available.

Members agreed to schedule a special meeting to work on ORR either the Friday before the election, or the weekend before that, depending on the availability of rooms and when the zero report data would be ready from the Department.

Committee members discussed possibilities for reporting more detailed registration data, including registration by party.

Public comment: None.

Adjourned at 9:19 p.m.