WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2000) – An international group of experts and companies officially formed an alliance today to work on the public development and open peer review of standards to be used in voting over the Internet.
About 50 participants from government, non-profit and private backgrounds attended the public founding assembly of the Internet Voting Technology Alliance, representing a first step in the self regulation of the Internet voting industry. An open call for participation was issued February 11, in public media, Internet work-groups and newsletters.
As defined in its mission statement, the IVTA affords companies, individuals and government sectors with a way to provide and request input in a unified environment with public peer review, while preserving the independence of each participant. The alliance is dedicated to serving the public by acting as an information center, discussion forum, voluntary standards setting body and Web publisher focused on technological issues of Internet voting.
For details about the alliance, or to learn
how to participate, visit the Web site at www.ivta.org.
The first track intends to motivate immediate collaboration among participants in order to define working rules for the Workgroups (WGs), even in the absence of any legal structure. The WGs are where the nuts and bolts of the IVTA technical standards will be formed, and informal discussions will begin by using listservers with open participation. The assembly decided on number and initial charter of the WGs, as well as their initial moderators. Initial working rules for all WGs will be applied as possible from the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFCs (Request For Comments). The objective is to follow the spirit of guidelines and procedures for operation of the IETF WGs in RFC 2418 and RFC 2026, as well as RFC 2223 and RFC 2119 for instructions to RFC and standards authors. The IVTA will eventually develop its own RFCs and standards for various technical aspects of Internet voting, so that initial familiarity with and even use of the IETF practices at this stage will be helpful.
The second track is to incorporate
the IVTA as a non-profit corporation that will operate in the District
of Columbia and according to IRS relevant regulations, with a WG specifically
designated in order to discuss and support (but not approve) this development,
under open peer review. By current consensus, the highest authority
will be exerted by the general assembly in its ordinary (annual) or extraordinary
meetings, but the day-to-day operation of the IVTA will require the following
documents, which will be defined as a function of WG discussions and legal
advice, but still pending approval by all organization members in a future
ballot (that may be cast by mail):
Articles of Incorporation: The Articles of Incorporation do not define how the IVTA should be operated by its members. The Articles are just a legal mechanism to make the IVTA a persona in the eyes of the law as well as to help protect the members from lawsuits eventually aimed against the IVTA. Without this mechanism, for example, all members could be taken to court for any action made or perceived to be made by the officers.
Bylaws: They should follow the basic essentials of the Bylaws of a modern non-profit organization designed to comply with the requirements of the IRS Tax Code. The Bylaws need to have certain clauses (articles) to define financial mechanisms for income and expense procedures to avoid the concept of "profits" distributions to members and officers on a cash basis forbidden under the federal regulations. The IVTA's voting standards rule-making procedures, RFCs, standards and WGs should not be incorporated in its Bylaws. The Bylaws should be focused on the following items strictly necessary to operate the IVTA as a non-profit organization and according to its mission statement: Name, Objectives, Membership, Meetings, Officers, Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Standing Committees, Funds, Bylaws Amendments, and Dissolution. Any "profit-making" mechanisms (e.g., bookstore) can not be allowed in the IVTA Bylaws and should be defined into divisional businesses, as with many other non-profit organizations with d.b.a. divisions.
MINUTES OF "INTERNET VOTING TECHNOLOGY ALLIANCE" FOUNDING ASSEMBLY
On February 28, 2000, at 1101 15th Street, 3rd floor, in the city of Washington, D.C., at 9:40am the founding assembly for the "Internet Voting Technology Alliance" was called to order by Ed Gerck, Ph.D., who presided over the meeting by consensus, and asked Eva Waskell to be the secretary of the assembly, which was also accepted by consensus. Henceforth, all decisions were made by consensus. The signed list of presence, including participants and observers with their respective affiliations and representations, was read by the President, with oral confirmation by each signee, with a confirmed presence of 30 (thirty). The President proposed and the assembly agreed to leave the list of presence open for late arrivals. The total number of participants and observers was 33 (thirty-three). The President informed the assembly that a number of email messages, including from other countries, had been received at the ivta.org web site with support for the founding assembly and adhesion to the initiative. The participants, observers, companies and organizations present at the assembly are named at the end of these minutes. The assembly agreed as follows. PROGRAM: The President motioned that the assembly would follow the given Program at the website ivta.org, of which each participant and observer had a printed copy; the given Program was accepted, with no further topics. NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION: "Internet Voting Technology Alliance" hereafter named IVTA. AFFILIATION AND REPRESENTATION POLICY: The IVTA accepts and understands that participants may have multiple affiliations and are free to choose both their affiliation as well as their representation, including the choice to participate as an individual; a company may also choose to be officially represented. A disclaimer, for example in the web site, will declare that use of company-or organization-related email address does not necessarily indicate official opinion or use. MISSION STATEMENT: The Internet Voting Technology Alliance (IVTA) is dedicated to serving the public by acting as an information center, discussion forum and voluntary standards setting body and web publisher focused on Internet voting. The primary goal of the Alliance is to ensure a high level of quality and integrity in the resources and information provided, in order to foster public confidence in Internet voting. In keeping with established Internet traditions, the Alliance will operate in an open and collaborative manner and favor consensus. STRATEGY: A technical board will issue white papers and oversee the development of voluntary standards by specific workgroups. The Alliance will form a Media Watch to collect published mainstream references regarding Internet voting. The Alliance will also offer a website as a "one stop" reference for Internet voting and elections in general, including public elections. The Alliance is composed of participants from hardware, software, security and election-related companies as well as from government sectors and interested organizations and individuals. Membership is open to anyone who has something of value to contribute. No member of the Alliance shall in any way act as if they are representing the Alliance unless the consensus is that representation is appropriate. DEVELOPMENT: In developing its activities, the IVTA will follow the first and second tracks contained in the given Program. In the first track, following nomination and acceptance, Ed Gerck was appointed by the assembly to submit an initial charter and list of discussion topics for a first Workgroup open to all participants, that will have a listserver moderated by Nicco Mele and Brook Lakew; some discussion topics suggested by the assembly include identification, authentication, voter registration, tallying software, ballot security, system security, user interface, etc. In the second track, a second Workgroup open to all participants and moderated by the Board of Directors will prepare a draft for the articles of incorporation and for the bylaws of the IVTA; the drafts will be submitted to the assembly for discussion and approval. The bylaws and articles of incorporation will not include working rules and will be kept to the strictly necessary, i.e. focused on names, objectives, membership, meetings, officers, board of directors, advisory board, standing committees, funds, bylaws amendments and dissolution. The assembly agreed that the IVTA will be a non-profit organization operating in the District of Columbia and according to IRS relevant regulations, but the IVTA may be incorporated in other jurisdictions if desirable. BOARD OF DIRECTORS: The assembly decided to form a Board of Directors with tasks to be defined in the bylaws and scope as customarily assigned. The following appointments were made and accepted: Ed Gerck, Chairman, with Members Chris Lavin and Ray Kennedy. ADVISORY BOARD: The assembly decided to form an Advisory Board with tasks to be defined in the bylaws and scope as customarily assigned. The following appointments were made and accepted: Michael Gravel, Dick Green, Jerry Henderson, Lawrence Lessig, Alvaro Lima, Don Mitchell, Roy Saltman, Einar Stefferud, Steve Teicher, Eva Waskell, Thom Wysong. LOGO: The current logo was approved. MISCELLANEOUS: The assembly agrees that participation at the founding assembly does not confer any rights except that of being a founder of the IVTA. CLOSING: The President asked the assembly whether there were further matters to be considered, which was met with the assembly consensus that there were no further topics; the meeting was consequently adjourned at 11:10am. LIST OF PRESENCE: Shane Bailey, Steve Bolton, Deborah Brunton, Ben Connolly, Ed Gerck, Mike Goldfein, Michael Gravel, Dick Green, Rosario Grennar, Kelly Hays, Jerry Henderson, Torquato Jardim, Ray Kennedy, Brian Kross, Brook Lakew, Chris Lavin, Dan Lerner, Robert Loring, Nicco Mele, Don Mitchell, Kurt Neumann, Phil Noble, Brian Oconnor, Michael O'Hehir, Roy Saltman, Jube Shiver, Jon Siegle, Richard Smolka, Mark Strama, Steve Teicher, Bara Vaida, Eva Waskell, Thom Wysong. ORGANIZATIONS AND COMPANIES REPRESENTED IN THE LIST OF PRESENCE: Belo, Center for Voting and Democracy, Common Cause, Computer Associates, Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, e-Elections, Election Administration Reports, Election Systems & Software, Election.com, Harris Interactive, International Foundation for Election Systems, Modulo Security Solutions S/A, Modulo USA, National Organization of Black County Officials, Philadelphia II, Politics Online, Safevote, SOZA, TechnoDemocracy Project, Voter Decision Project, VoteHere.net. OBSERVERS QUALIFIED IN THE LIST OF PRESENCE: Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, National Journal Technology Daily, Newsbytes. VERIFIED AND SIGNED ON THIS DATE FEBRUARY 28, 2000, BY EVA WASKELL, ASSEMBLY SECRETARY, IN WASHINGTON, D.C.