Building the People’s Voting System

Who are we?

The TrustTheVote Project is member-based non-profit initiative of the OSET Institute; a Silicon Valley based (U.S. tax-exempt) non-partisan election technology research and development organization focused on innovations in public voting technology — essentially “critical democracy infrastructure.”

The purpose of our project is to develop publicly owned election technology for any jurisdiction to adopt, adapt and deploy—technology that:

  • Improves voting system integrity, security and verifiability;
  • Lowers costs of election administration;
  • Innovates usability, ease, and convenience, and
  • Increases confidence in elections and their outcomes.
  • This project is creating public (open source) software to improve the election experience for citizens and governments alike. An important outcome of our work is public technology for election and voting systems that is more trustworthy than anything to date.

The most fundamental aspect of democracy in this country (and everywhere, in fact) — the process of public elections — is at risk. Election technology has deteriorated to the point of becoming an issue of national security. Current voting systems design and how they’re built is vulnerable to attack and compromise, and as we all painfully know, have resulted in questionable elections outcomes.

Existing technology is antique to the point of obsolescence; in fact, the underlying architecture is inherently flawed. Many aspects of the election experience desperately need innovation to make it easier, convenient, dare we suggest “delightful” for voters and officials alike.

When voting is problematic and frustrating, trust is diminished in this vital process of democracy. People believe it’s too hard to vote, or their votes don’t matter, or may not even be counted as cast. Lines are long, sign-in processes are inefficient, ballots are badly designed, audit and verification is weak, and technology is poorly utilized.

When the process of voting lacks verifiability, accuracy, security, and transparency, elections and their outcomes are questioned. We end up with recounts, litigation, or worse. These conditions destroy trust and risk devolving democracy into chaos or worse.

Failing voting technology infrastructure anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere. It’s a persistent problem due to a failed market. There is no commercial incentive to truly improve voting technology, making election integrity a gamble dependent on expensive proprietary systems with well-known vulnerabilities.

The TrustTheVote Project is developing innovative and more secure election technology as (open source) public infrastructure to increase integrity, lower cost, improve usability, and ultimately expand participation.

It is called ElectOS (say “elect-Oh-S”) and it is the most innovative and novel public digital works project ever—of, by, and for we, the people.

Imagine the people of this great nation owning the technology on which we cast and count our ballots to ensure that it is verifiable, accurate, secure, and transparent—and relying on hand-marked durable paper ballots of record!

That’s what this project is all about, with about 16 months worth of work remaining to finish and have federally certified the necessary technology that no one else is willing to build—pretty much because they prefer the status quo of today.

That’s unacceptable to the TrustTheVote Project.

So, we’re making ElectOS and want you to join us to help get it done. And you don’t even have to write a line of software code!

So, those interested often ask, “What’s your strategy for making this happen?” We start by explaining that the success of this massively transformative nonprofit project will reinvent how we the people conduct trustworthy elections in the 21st century. We have a 4-point strategy to ensure success based on decades of experience in commercial technology markets to ensure success of this work:

  1. Stakeholders — We engage election officials to share their needs for voting technology that meet local regulatory requirements. This ensures they are more likely to adopt what we make. We also engage voters, like you; as a member of the TrustTheVote Project you have a voice in the design for usability.
  2. Open Standards — The Institute is helping drive development of open election data and technology standards. This ensures different systems work together; it enables a uniform set-up and operation, and it ensures transparency in all of it.
  3. Innovation — Leveraging decades of product creation experience at companies like Apple, Mozilla, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and others, the TrustTheVote Project is bringing the best innovation to reinventing voting technology.
  4. Ownership — All software belongs to the people. It’s available under an OSI-accredited public license for any company to build and deliver finished systems — just like Android is available for any company to make a smartphone.

And that usually makes the case for this unique once in a generation effort. Of course, there are lots of details about how this all gets done—we’ve been on this project for several years. And we’ve worked out nearly all of the bugs. Now it’s ready for the public to get involved and help push it across the finish line. Tap the “LEARN MORE” button on the front page mid-way down to do just that—learn more!

 

PLEASE JOIN US
It’s a small one-time contribution to become a member of the TrustTheVote Project (and helping by telling all of your friends and family, so this can really be “of, by, and for we, the people.”) See GET INVOLVED at the top of this site on the navigation bar to learn about the benefits of membership.

Seriously, we can do this, so please help us get it done because it’s the one thing you can do that’s way more than simply making another $25 campaign contribution to your favorite candidate (while you hope the ballots to elect your candidate are actually counted as cast.)

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