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[libreplanet-discuss] Free Electronic Voting Software / hardware?

From: arthur_torrey
Subject: [libreplanet-discuss] Free Electronic Voting Software / hardware?
Date: Sat, 12 May 2012 02:05:00 +0000 (UTC)


I'm an elected Town Meeting member in Billerica, MA.  We have just passed an 
article to implement electronic voting at future Town Meetings (Target date is 
the fall 2012 session), and I have been appointed to the committee that will be 
choosing the hardware and software that will be used.

Does any one know of an EVS system that uses Free / Open software?

This is not for elections and other widely dispersed voting such as the Debian 
folks use - it is more of an "audience response" system.  We have an 
approximate maximum of 250 representatives, that all meet in the same room at 
the same time, and vote on things as a body.  The electronic voting system will 
be replacing the use of voice votes, standing counts and other such methods.

The assumption is that each representative will have some form of "clicker" on 
the order of a simple TV remote control that they will use indicate their vote, 
with some sort of wireless data collection and tabulation.  Obviously the 
hardware for such a system will need to be purchased (and there are many 
vendors of such systems), but I'd like to choose a system that used FLOSS for 
the software side of it....

An approximate list of system requirements...

1. Support for at least 250 representatives - who must be individually 
identifiable, as recent changes in our Open Meeting laws seem to require that 
votes be done in a roll-call manner, as well as preventing double voting, etc.

2. For better or worse, must be capable of interoperating with the existing 
Town software infrastructure, which is mostly proprietary (Microsoft) based.

3. Ideally be limited in range so that only representatives that are actually 
IN the room at the time can vote (so that all debate is heard, we don't want 
folks voting who are out in the hall or in the restroom voting w/o having heard 
the debate...)

4. Must have the ability to support electronic "queuing" to more readily allow 
people wishing to speak on an issue to line up (currently this is one of our 
most controversial problems as manually looking for raised hands inevitably 
leads to "race conditions" of who was first, and whether or not people were 
seen, etc...)

5. Support at least Yes, No, and Abstain votes, quorum counts, and other such 
measures that a meeting might require.  (while staying reasonably simple and 
"user friendly")

6. Use hardware that is readily available and likely to continue to remain so, 
in order to allow replacement of lost / broken voting units.  The voting 
hardware should also be ADA compliant / handicapped usable.

7. Be easy for the people doing check-in / out to administer in terms of 
distributing the voting units and collecting them at the end of a meeting. 
(during any given meeting, a particular rep. must be linked to a particular 
unit, but the link does not necessarily need to be retained between meetings...)

Arthur Torrey 

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