Technical Guidelines Development Committee (TGDC)
Security and Transparency Subcommittee (STS) Teleconference *
April 10, 2007, 10:30 a.m.


1) Administrative Updates
2) Continue discussion of path forward for e-poll book requirements
3) Discussion of path forward for innovation class requirements
4) Other items
5) Next call Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 10:30AM

Attendees: Allan Eustis, Angela Orbaugh, Barbara Guttman, Bill Burr, David Wagner, Helen Purcell, John Crickenberger (NVLAP), John Kelsey, John Wack, Mat Masterson (EAC), Nelson Hastings, Patrick Gannon, Quynh Dang, Rene Peralta, Ron Rivest, Santosh Chokani, Wendy Havens

Administrative Updates: There were no updates this week

E-Poll Books:

This weeks meeting continued to focus on e-poll books. As written, the VVSG does not permit networked e poll books to activate ballots. David Flater has added a device class bubble for ballot activation to the voting system diagram in the requirements. A device that activates the ballot is considered part of the voting system, so if an e poll book activates ballot, it is subject to the requirements of the VVSG.

Currently, we have direction from the TGDC to allow externally networked devices to activate ballots. This direction either needs to be added to the VVSG or STS needs to go back to the TGDC formally with the recommendation that this direction be changed. STS needs to reach a consensus and decide how to implement.

Key issues on the table for discussion:

  • Should ballot activators be networked outside polling place?
  • Should ballot activation by e poll books be permitted?
  • What safeguards are needed?

E poll books are used to make sure voters are authorized to vote, in what jurisdiction, and to make sure they only vote once, and to give them the right ballot. These are registration activities and are different than activating the ballot.

Concern was expressed over allowing ballot activators to be externally networked. There are security issues, privacy issues, and reliability issues. What happens if the network goes down, is voting stopped at that precinct for the day?

Ron Rivest as well as other members of the subcommittee felt it not be best to externally network these activation devices. What are the next steps? We need to receive more input from election officials. At the STS subcommittee meeting in two weeks we will invite HFP and CRT members to join in discussion to make sure that all concerns and benefits are discussed.

E-poll Books (whether networked or not) should activate ballots (because of privacy issues)?

John Kelsey expressed concern over allowing devices that contained identifiable information on voters to talk to machines that contained the vote records. With this communication it would be possible to reconstruct how an entire state voted. Ron inquired about possible guidelines. John Kelsey suggested separately the e poll book (registration device) completely with an air gap from the mechanism that records the votes. Ron felt this would cause procedural mechanisms to get very complex and would allow for human error rate and usability concerns.

When talking about privacy, there is not external audit. We have to rely on the integrity of source code, certification, and software distribution management. We can write standards to these issues.

This issue was tabled for the meeting. It will be revisited at the meeting in two weeks.

Innovation class:

John Wack gave a short overview of the innovation class issues. STS Subcommittee was looking at coming up with general procedures about how these submissions should be reviewed and how to make testable requirements. We are now looking at 1) specific requirements for the VVSG that can be used to evaluate system and 2) guidance to the EAC of how to handle the other aspects in the evaluation process. This will be covered at next weeks STS meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

[* Pursuant to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the TGDC is charged with directing NIST in performing voting systems research so that the TGDC can fulfill its role of recommending technical standards for voting equipment to the EAC. This teleconference served the purposes of the STS subcommittee of the TGDC to direct NIST staff and coordinate voting-related research relevant to the VVSG 2007. Discussions on this telecon are preliminary and do not necessarily reflect the views of NIST or the TGDC.]

Teleconferences from 2004, 2005, 2006 and upcoming in 2006.


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Last updated: July 25, 2007
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