EVT/WOTE 2009 Call for Papers

elections, news, friends, research

(Please forward widely! You can find email-appropriate text, in Markdown format, here: http://josephhall.org/tmp/cfp_evt09.text.)

2009 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE '09)

August 10--11, 2009
Montreal, Canada

Sponsored by USENIX: The Advanced Computing Systems Association, ACCURATE: A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections and IAVoSS: The International Association for Voting System Sciences

EVT/WOTE '09 will be co-located with the 18th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security '09), August 10--14, 2009.

Important Dates

Refereed paper submissions due: April 17, 2009, 11:59 p.m. PDT
Notification of acceptance: May 26, 2009
Final files due: June 23, 2009

Workshop Organizers

Program Chairs

  • David Jefferson, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Joseph Lorenzo Hall, University of California, Berkeley/Princeton University
  • Tal Moran, Harvard University

Program Committee

  • Ben Adida, Harvard University
  • Michael Alvarez, California Institute of Technology
  • Josh Benaloh, Microsoft Research
  • Aaron Burstein, University of California, Berkeley
  • Joseph Calandrino, Princeton University
  • Aggelos Kiayias, University of Connecticut
  • Andy Neff
  • Lawrence Norden, New York University
  • Whitney Quesenbery, WQUsability
  • Eric Rescorla, RTFM, Inc.
  • Ron Rivest, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Daniel Sandler, Rice University
  • Vanessa Teague, University of Melbourne
  • David Wagner, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ping Yee, Google
  • Additional Program Committee Members to be decided shortly


In the United States and many other countries, most votes are counted and transported electronically, but there are numerous practical and policy implications of introducing electronic machines into the voting process. Both voting technology and its regulations are very much in flux, with open concerns including accuracy, reliability, robustness, security, transparency, equality, privacy, usability, and accessibility.

This year, the organizers of the USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology workshop (EVT) have merged EVT with the IAVoSS Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (WOTE) to create a joint two-day workshop (EVT/WOTE '09). EVT/WOTE seeks to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines, ranging from computer science and human-computer interaction experts through political scientists, legal experts, election administrators, and voting equipment vendors. EVT/WOTE seeks to publish original research on important problems in all aspects of electronic voting.

Soliciting New Material

In addition to the areas in which EVT has seen very strong submissions in the past (below), we are especially interested in the following types of contributions:

  • Technical work from vendor engineers and developers.
  • Scholarly work concerning legal and policy challenges.
  • Work involving research with or about accessibility.
  • Assessments, proposals and policy prescriptions involving registration technologies (e-pollbooks, online registration).
  • Papers based on direct experiences with recent elections, possibly from election officials and their staff.

Standard Material

In general, we welcome papers on voting topics including but not limited to:

  • Voter registration and pre-voting processes;
  • Vote collection;
  • Vote tabulation;
  • Election auditing;
  • Design, implementation, and evaluation of new voting technologies and protocols;
  • Scientific evaluations of existing voting technologies;
  • System testing methodologies;
  • Deployment and lifecycle issues;
  • Threat mitigation;
  • Usability;
  • Accessibility;
  • Legal issues, including the ADA, HAVA, intellectual property, and nondisclosure agreements on voting system evaluations, and;
  • Issues with and evolution of voting technology standards.
  • Election integrity
  • Ballot integrity
  • Ballot secrecy
  • Voter anonymity
  • Voter authentication
  • Receipts and coercion resistance
  • Anonymous channels
  • Secure bulletin boards
  • Threat models
  • Formal security analysis
  • Electoral systems
  • Case studies of electronic voting experiments
  • Privacy, verifiability, and transparency in e-voting

EVT/WOTE '09 will be a two-day event, Monday, August 10, and Tuesday, August 11, 2009, co-located with the 18th USENIX Security Symposium in Montreal, Canada. In addition to paper presentations, the workshop may include panel discussions with substantial time devoted to questions and answers. The Proceedings of the workshop will be published electronically. Attendance at the workshop will be open to the public, although talks and refereed paper presentations will be by invitation only.

Refereed Paper Submission Instructions

All submissions must be in English and must include a title and the authors' names and affiliations. Papers must not be anonymized. We will consider both short position papers (up to eight (8) pages long) and longer, conference-style submissions (up to a maximum of sixteen (16) pages). Longer, conference-style papers, if rejected, will not be reconsidered as shorter position papers. Papers should be formatted 11 point font, a4 or letter paper and reasonable margins. If you wish, please make use of this LaTeX style file and sample LaTeX file (see the corresponding PDF here) when preparing your paper for submission. The page limits do not include the bibliography nor any appendices. Appendices may be used for material that does not fit in the main body of the paper (such as extended legal arguments or technical proofs). Note that reviewers are not required to read the appendices, so the papers should be intelligible without them. Papers that exceed the main paper page limit may be summarily rejected.

Each submission should have a contact author who should provide full contact information (email, phone, fax, mailing address). One author of each accepted paper will be required to present the work at the workshop.

Authors are required to submit papers by 11:59 p.m. PDT, April 17, 2009. This is a hard deadline; no extensions will be given. All submissions to EVT/WOTE '09 must be electronic, in PDF format, via a this Web form. Authors are encouraged to follow the U.S. National Science Foundation's guidelines for preparing PDF grant submissions:


All submissions will be judged on originality, relevance, correctness, and clarity. In addition to citing relevant published work, authors should relate their submission to any other relevant submissions of theirs in other venues that are under review at the same time as their submission to the EVT/WOTE '09.

Simultaneous submission of the same work to multiple venues, submission of previously published work, and plagiarism constitute dishonesty or fraud. USENIX, like other scientific and technical conferences and journals, prohibits these practices and may, on the recommendation of a program chair, take action against authors who have committed them. In some cases, program committees may share information about submitted papers with other conference chairs and journal editors to ensure the integrity of papers under consideration. If a violation of these principles is found, sanctions may include, but are not limited to, barring the authors from submitting to or participating in USENIX conferences for a set period, contacting the authors' institutions, and publicizing the details of the case.

Note, however, that we expect that many papers accepted for EVT/WOTE '09 will eventually be extended as full papers suitable for presentation at future conferences or for future journal publications.

Authors uncertain whether their submission meets USENIX's guidelines should contact the program chairs at evtwote09chairs@usenix.org or the USENIX office, submissionspolicy@usenix.org.

Papers accompanied by nondisclosure agreement forms will not be considered. Accepted submissions will be treated as confidential prior to publication on the USENIX EVT/WOTE '09 Web site; rejected submissions will be permanently treated as confidential.

Authors will be notified of acceptance decisions via email on or before May 26, 2009. If you do not receive notification by that date, contact the program chairs at evtwote09chairs@usenix.org. Each accepted submission may be assigned a member of the program committee to act as its shepherd during the preparation of the final paper. The assigned member will act as a conduit for feedback from the committee to the authors.

All papers will be available online to registered attendees prior to the workshop and will be available online to everyone starting on August 10. If your accepted paper should not be published prior to the event, please notify production@usenix.org.

Panel Discussions

Depending on the quantity and quality of paper submissions, the program chairs may set aside one or two sessions for panel discussions. Ideas for panel discussions, including a title, brief description, and list of individuals participating on the panel, should be sent to evtwote09chairs@usenix.org by the paper submission deadline.

System Demos

We intend to provide an opportunity to demo systems and prototypes during the Workshop. Please contact the program chairs at evtwote09chairs@usenix.org.

Registration Materials

Complete program and registration information will be available in July 2009 on the workshop Web site. If you would like to receive the latest USENIX conference information, please join our mailing list.

Don't Point Rifles at Your Head... Ever!

wtf?, chilling effects, policy, education

cropped image of a Drexel girl with rifle pointing at her head Gruber links to an interesting image of the girl's rifle team at Drexel Institute in 1925.

As a former riflery instructor, this image instantly made my heart skip a beat. Why? Because most of the girls pictured are standing and have their rifles on the ground with the bolts open and barrels pointed upwards. In a few cases, like the far left girl (pictured here), the barrel seems to be pointed very clearly towards her head! Yikes.

I taught rifelry to kids as young as 10 at Jameson Ranch Camp (which is truly heaven on Earth for young kids, if you can afford it). Among many other things, we taught that when not shooting -- e.g., when posing for pictures -- one should remove the bolt from the rifle and point the barrel of the rifle towards the ground or the sky. When pointed upwards, the tip of the barrel should be above your head. Anyone not following these (and many other precautions) would loose their shooting privileges, period.

It's a great picture... but damn if it doesn't give me the heebie-jeebies.

CA SoS Bowen sends proposals to EAC

elections, certification/testing, reform, standards, news, problems, friends, policy

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has sent a letter to Chair Gineen Beach of the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) outlining three proposals that she thinks will markedly improve the integrity of voting systems in the country.

I've put a copy of Bowen's letter here (87kB PDF).

Bowen's three proposals are:

  • Vulnerability Reporting -- The EAC should require that vendors disclose vulnerabilities, flaws, problems, etc. to the EAC as the system certification authority and to all the state election directors that use the affected equipment.
  • Uniform Incident Reporting -- The EAC should create and adopt procedures that jurisdictions can follow to collect and report data about incidents they experience with their voting systems.
  • Voting System Performance Measurement -- As part of the Election Day Survey, the EAC should systematically collect data from election officials about how voting systems perform during general elections.

In my opinion, each of these would be a welcome move for the EAC.

These proposals would put into place a number of essential missing elements of administering computerized elections equipment. First, for the users of these systems, election officials, it can be extremely frustrating and debilitating if they suspect that some voting system flaw is responsible for problems they're experiencing. Often, when errors arise, contingency planning requires detailed knowledge about specific details of a voting system flaw. Without knowing as much as possible about the problem they're facing, election officials can exacerbate the problem. At best, not knowing about a potential flaw can do what Bowen describes: doom the election official, and others with the same equipment, to repeatedly encounter the flaw in subsequent elections. Of course, vendors are the most likely to have useful information on a given flaw, and they should be required to report this information to both the EAC and election officials.

Often the most information we have about voting system incidents come from reports from local journalists. These reporters don't tend to cover high technology too often; their reports are often incomplete and in many cases simply and obviously incorrect. Having a standardized set of elements that an election official can collect and report about voting system incidents will help to ensure that the data comes directly from those experiencing a given problem. The EAC should design such procedures and then a system for collecting and reporting these issues to other election officials and the public.

Finally, many of us were disappointed to learn that the 2008 Election Day survey would not include questions about voting system performance. Election Day is a unique and hard-to-replicate event where very little systematic data is collected about voting machine performance. The OurVoteLive and MyVote1 efforts go a long way towards actionable, qualitative data that can help to increase enfranchisement. However, self-reported data from the operators of the machinery of our democracy would be a gold mine in terms of identifying and examining trends in how this machinery performs, both good and bad.

I know a number of people, including Susannah Goodman at Common Cause as well as John Gideon and Ellen Theisen of VotersUnite!, who have been championing one or another of these proposals in their advocacy. The fact that Debra Bowen has penned this letter is a testament to the reason behind their efforts.

Favorite Quote About Election...

elections, wtf?

?Holy shit! Did we just elect Barack Obama President of the United States? I've got to be honest America, I didn't think you had it in you. That is a seven million vote T.K.O. You were not playing around, cause you just put a black man, with a brown name in the White House.? --David Alan Grier on Chocolate News 5 November 2008.

Cycorder crashing on start?

system, hacks, open source, education

If you have a jailbroken iPhone, you've probably availed yourself of Cycorder, the ad-supported video recorder that records decent video (like this).

You probably also followed these instructions, "Easily share Cycorder videos off jailbroken iPhones", using Air Sharing and Mobile Terminal or OpenSSH to make the videos easy to get at.

However, if you update Air Sharing, the directory in which Air Sharing lies may change (something like D4C0BF5B-05F5-42E0-8D89-D86014122F26/... in /private/var/mobile/Applications/)). That means that the symbolic link you created above is now stale.

If Cycorder is crashing immediately upon launch, you probably have updated Air Sharing (such that it's directory has changed) and now have a stale symbolic link that is pointing your /private/var/mobile/Media/Videos directory (where cycorder expects to store videos) to a non-existent directory in /private/var/mobile/Applications/.

To fix it:

  1. Start up Air Sharing.
  2. SSH into your phone: ssh root@ (or whatever Air Sharing reports as your iPhone's IP address.)
  3. Change directories to where your apps are at: cd /private/var/mobile/Applications
  4. Now, you need to figure out which directory Air Sharing is in. I'd suggest just using find:

    root# find . -name "Air Sharing" -print
    ./FA299166-2613-4F36-9043-A52711FA9123/Documents/Air Sharing
  5. Change directories to where Cycorder expects the Videos folder to be: cd /private/var/mobile/Media/

  6. Move the current symbolic link to somewhere else: mv Videos Videos.2.bak
  7. Create a new symbolic link to point Videos/ at the Air Sharing public directory: ln -s "../Applications/FA299166-2613-4F36-9043-A52711FA9123/Documents/Air Sharing/Public" ./Videos

(Note that the cryptic directory, FA299166-2613-4F36-9043-A52711FA9123, will probably be different for you.)

After this, Cycorder should operate as normal.

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