(operationbravo.org is under new management, this article previously appeared on the old website and was not written by the new site owners.)
The Operation BRAVO Foundation will foster the grassroots exploration and development of practical and reproducible electronic solutions that can significantly improve the overseas absentee voting process. Solution projects will be structured as models that can be easily replicated using local and state procedures and infrastructure and will not require a federal government element for implementation.
The Foundation’s initial project will be conducted in Okaloosa County, Florida, in partnership with the Supervisor of Elections.
Okaloosa County is located in Florida’s panhandle and is ‘home’ to over 20,000 active duty military and their dependents currently deployed around the world. This high concentration of overseas military voters means the county’s elections office is highly motivated to best manage today’s arcane methods of providing timely and efficient service to these ‘distance balloting’ constituents.
The county’s Elections Office has participated in numerous overseas voting pilot projects exploring alternative solutions throughout recent years but has been frustrated as none of these pilots has moved beyond the experimental phase. Consequently three years ago, Pat Hollarn, Supervisor of Elections, began planning The Okaloosa Distance Balloting Pilot (ODBP) for the 2008 Presidential election with the express intention of developing a solution that could subsequently be implemented as a standard election administration process in the county. More importantly, it was her belief this pilot could provide a solution model for other counties across America with large overseas military and/or civilian voter populations.
To move the pilot forward Ms. Hollarn and her ODBP partners have worked under current statutes and Florida Administrative Rules (This is an example of how the Foundation expects to work with state and local officials in defining, planning, and carrying out projects).
ODBP will establish a secure and scalable distance balloting environment for up to 900 self-selecting overseas voters who are registered in Okaloosa County. Logistically the pilot will position remote electronic voting ‘kiosks’ at three overseas locations chosen for their proximity to qualified voters based in the U.K., Germany, and Japan. These kiosks will be available to voters for ten days prior to the November 4, 2008 election and will be administered by county election officials. Using a proven, transparent, and secure electronic remote voting technology over a secure Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection, these remote electronic votes will be delivered to a secure county server for official tally. No paper, no mail, no hassle…and voters will even get a ‘ballot cast’ receipt in order to prove their ballot has been counted!
Most importantly ODBP’s operational plans include an end-to-end analysis by leading academics expert in election technology and methodology. This independent study is meant to raise the level and productivity of discussions around the real integrity and effectiveness of remote electronic voting as administrators, regulators and legislators wrestle with ways to improve balloting environments across America.
Note: No public tax dollars will be used to fund the technology in implementing ODBP.
PARTNERS – OKALOOSA DISTANCE BALLOTING PILOT
The OKALOOSA DISTANCE BALLOTING PILOT (ODBP) is being planned and implemented through close cooperation by the following Operation BRAVO partners:
Pat Hollarn (CERA), Supervisor of Elections, and Paul Lux (CERA), Assistant Supervisor, Okaloosa County, Florida, are the Pilot Proponents. Ms. Hollarn and Mr. Lux have participated in a number of demonstration projects to examine technological alternatives for overseas military and civilian absentee voting. Ms. Hollarn is also a Director of the Operation BRAVO Foundation.
Carol Paquette, Project Manager, is an expert on the application of technology solutions for absentee voting. Ms. Paquette was the program manager for the electronic voting projects for overseas military and civilian voters conducted by the Federal Voting Assistance Program for the 2000 and 2004 General Elections. She is also a Director of the Operation BRAVO Foundation.
Election Trust LLC is a Seattle-based election solutions integrator and consultancy specializing in a new generation of transparent and reliable remote paper and electronic balloting tools, platforms and methodologies in both the Public and Private sectors. Election Trust’s authorship and advocacy of the ODBP project is evidence of its commitment to bettering the voting experience for American overseas voters.
Scytl Secure Electronic Voting S.A. is a provider of secure remote voting technology with extensive experience in international projects. Scytl, of Barcelona, Spain, was formed as a spin-off from a leading university research group on e-voting security. Scytl’s innovative e-voting technology has received numerous international awards, including the 2007 ITech-Economy Leaders Prize and the 2005 ICT Prize awarded by the European Commission.
Sabrina McLaughlin, APR provides public relations and voter recruiting expertise in order to enhance the public view of the ODBP project. Sabrina’s award winning voter education program, public relations planning, graphic design and copywriting skills have been recognized on local, regional and national levels.
Dr. Alec Yasinsac, head of the Security and Assurance in Information Technology (SAIT) Laboratory at Florida State University, and a national expert on electronic voting system software, will provide technical assistance in evaluating the performance and security of the remote voting system used in the project. SAIT Laboratory is certified by the U.S. National Security Agency as a Center of AcademicExcellence in Information Assurance Education. It has extensive facilities, resources, and experience in both academic research and applied technology for ensuring voting system.