"Contractual Barriers to Transparency in Electronic Voting"

elections, reform, vendors, copyright, open source, secrecy, chilling effects, berkeley, litigation, research, policy, legal

I've just submitted the camera-ready version of my paper, "Contractual Barriers to Transparency in Electronic Voting" for the USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Technology Workshop 2007 (EVT'07) in Boston on 6 August 2007. The abstract isn't very sexy, but I guarantee you the contents are for anyone interested in the relationships between voting system manufacturers and state and local election jurisdictions.

Here's the paper:

Contractual Barriers to Transparency in Electronic Voting


We analyze a data set of 55 contracts between state and local election jurisdictions and voting system vendors for transparency-inhibiting terms and provisions. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of certain provisions and make recommendations that jurisdictions can follow to better support transparency in the elections process.

I'd love any feedback that you might have... especially in how to present this kind of material in an exciting way to a mixed audience of academics, advocates, vendors, election officials, other private and public sector individuals and anyone else who wanders through the door.

Easy replacing of ^M in emacs


Sorry to get all geeky on you, but...

Lately, I've had to do a lot of replacing ^M characters in files and pasted text in emacs. All seasoned emacs users know that this is easily done by doing the following at the beginning of a file:

M-x replace-string RET C-q C-m RET C-q C-j RET

However, that can get really tiring if you have to do it alot.

I looked for an alias, shortcut or something that would let me do this with fewer keys, but no luck. Finally, I realized that the term I was looking for in my search was a keyboard macro. That is, an emacs keyboard macro can be defined to do this and then I can set a key combination to do it. Here's how:

  1. To start recording a macro type C-x (
  2. Do the things you want to record in the macro... for example, I typed the key combination above including going to the beginning of the file. (which is: M-< M-x replace-string RET C-q C-m RET C-q C-j RET)
  3. To stop recording the macro type C-x )
  4. Give the macro a name by typing: M-x name-last-kbd-macro
  5. Open your .emacs file: C-x C-f ~/.emacs
  6. Insert the macro text into the file by typing the following followed by the name you gave the macro above: M-x insert-kbd-macro
  7. You can bind this to a key combination using a global-set-key definition right under the macro definition.

Here's what I added to my .emacs file to map C-c m to replacing all the ^M characters in the current buffer:

;;Replace all freakin' ^M chars in the current buffer
(fset 'replace-ctrlms
   [escape ?< escape ?% ?\C-q ?\C-m return ?\C-q ?\C-j return ?!])
(global-set-key "\C-cm" 'replace-ctrlms)

"Ham-ass", "idea-r" and british pronunciation

wtf?, friends

I listen to the BBC a lot... KALW, my preferred local NPR station, often plays the BBC at hours when I do stuff (2-3pm, 12am-5am).

One thing I've started to notice, which I find particularly strange and a bit funny, is the way the British pronounce certain things. For example, the palestinian group Hamas; the British pronounce it "ham"-"ass" while everyone else seems to pronounce it "hahm"-"ahs". Weird. Also, what's with the Brits ending every word that ends in the letter "a" with an "r"? For example, "idea" becomes "idea-r". Boggles the mind.

(BTW, I can't blog substantively lately about much... too busy... so forgive me if I take a break and write frivolous stuff.)

EVT paper accepted

elections, reform, news, friends, research, policy, legal

My submission to EVT'07, "Contractual Barriers to Transparency in Electronic Voting", was accepted (with Ray Martinez as a shepherd). I'm not going to post it yet out of respect for the shepherding process.

The other paper, Aaron and mine, on disclosure laws was not accepted. It sounds like they had an enormous number of submissions this year. I'm pleased and disappointed at the same time.

UPDATE: Last year, a number of neat people (Ping, Alex, Naveen, Arel, Cere, etc.) asked me if I would stay for rest of USENIX Security and not just EVT. Last year, I couldn't; this year, I could conceivably go to both EVT and the USENIX Security technical program (it will be expensive, no doubt). Is anyone else out there going? The technical program line-up looks really cool. It would be expensive for me, but, I believe, way way worth it. Send me email if you want to convince me one way or the other...

Free Tova!

elections, chilling effects, problems, friends, policy, legal
Free Tova Wang and Job Serebrov

Get yours here: http://www.cafepress.com/joehall

Background: The EAC will not release Tova Wang and Job Serebrov from their contractual gag provision that prohibits them talking to press... more from Rick Hasen here.

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