FROM:   Kim Alexander, CVF President
DATE:   August 10, 2001
RE:   CVF-NEWS Round-up: Net voting, campaign disclosure

Hi Folks,

In this issue of CVF-NEWS:

* Improvements made at California's campaign disclosure web site
* Internet Voting Project Cost Pentagon $73,809 Per Vote
* Federal Election Commission seeks public input on voting equipment standards; proposes standards for Internet voting

Improvements made at California's campaign disclosure web site

I'm very happy to report that the Secretary of State's staff has made a major improvement to Cal-Access, the web site where the public can access California campaign finance data. Recent changes to the site resulted in the elimination of the ability to easily view, browse and sort campaign expenditures. Yesterday, that tool was returned.

The site is still difficult to navigate, so here are some quick tips: contributions and expenditures can be accessed but the path to get there is not uniform for all filers. Once you've selected a filer/candidate you may need to click around to get to the contribution and expenditure data. In some cases, you need to click on "Candidate's Committees", and then click on the hyperlinked committee name to get to the links that will take you to contributions and expenditures. Once you get to contributions and expenditures you can click on the column headers at the top of the table to sort by different fields (i.e. click on name to sort alphabetically, by date to sort by date, etc.)

We have been told that the staff is working on also returning the download function so the public can export and sort the data offline. CVF will continue working with the Secretary of State's office on Cal-Access to seek further improvements before the next filing period. Cal-Access is online at

Internet Voting Project Cost Pentagon $73,809 Per Vote

The Center for Public Integrity published a special report this week on the Pentagon's Internet Voting pilot project. The report, by CPI staff writer John Dunbar, raises new questions about the security of the military's experiment. The Pentagon recently published a report on the project, run by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which called it a success. The CPI report is online at: The Pentagon's assessment is online at -- however, because this web site has been inaccessible for several weeks now, we have uploaded the report to the CVF web site where you can view it at

Federal Election Commission seeks public input on voting equipment standards; proposes standards for Internet voting

The FEC recently issued a call for public comment on updated voting systems standards. While these are voluntary standards, they are important because 37 states have adopted them or plan to and more are being encouraged to do so in light of last year's election problems.

The standards are very long and deserve careful attention, especially because they include provisions about Internet voting. This is very disturbing to me and to several others involved with the Internet voting debate. The FEC draft standards recognize that setting standards for Internet voting are premature, but then go ahead and do so anyway. If the FEC were to adopt Internet voting standards it could pave the way for new Internet voting efforts at a time when a broad consensus has developed that it is dangerous and premature. Here's an excerpt from the FEC's Overview regarding Internet voting:

"At this time, it is widely recognized that the technologies now used to develop Internet-based business systems do not fully address the requirements and risks associated with voting over the Internet. Consequently, the VSS do not promote Internet voting. However, they provide a framework of performance and test standards intended to guide product development and assure that Internet Voting Systems, when they are developed, are examined and tested using standards that recognize the unique design and operating characteristics, and inherent risks, of Internet Voting Systems. Requirements for Internet voting systems are set to assure that these systems are as accurate, reliable, and secure as other forms of voting systems and will likely require substantial technology advancement to be achieved. Performance requirements are defined for poll-site systems that enable casting ballots from only locations and equipment controlled by election officials and for remote-site systems that enable voters to cast ballots from any location with Internet access. Specific requirements are defined for attributes such as system availability, vote accuracy and integrity, vote privacy, ballot presentation, ballot acceptance and storage at the server, and security."

If you'd like to voice your opinion on this or any of the many other topics covered in the FEC's standards, please see the Overview online at, and be sure to read the Detailed Voting Systems Standards too because they include important details not reflected in the Overview. The detailed draft is online at Comments are due by Sept. 10 and can be emailed to For more details about submitting written comments see the FEC's notice in the Federal Register, online at

That's it for now. Have a great weekend!

-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation, 530-750-7650,

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This page was first published on August 10, 2001 | Last updated on August 10, 2001
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