VOTES is a Verifiable Open Technology Election System. The concept was initially discussed during a 2016 Thanksgiving holiday gathering. Since then the idea continued to percolate here and there but due to a lack funding and time, progress has been slow with long periods of hibernation. Regardless, many thanks to the very knowledgable people at MIT and other institutions and private companies who freely offered their time and knowledge regarding election science and technology.
However, with the recent 2020 US election there was a great increase in the lack of trust of the election process itself. And though facts are facts and alternate facts are not, a democratic election needs to be not only free and clear of fraud and inaccuracies in truth, it also needs to have the appearance of being such and the transparent and easy proof of being such. Thus the VOTES project.
The original plan was to try a kickstarter campaign to generate the funding to allow enough software to be written so to have a functional prototype. The prototype would demonstrate the efficacy, viability, and power of a VOTES solution so that the project could obtain the necessary funding so to actually run an election.
However, getting traction during the 2020 election cycle for in depth peer reviews of the technology, legal aspects, and UX of VOTES has been challenging. It is particularly challenging for a new and disruptive solution in a complicated and multifaceted technical, political, legal, and UX space – and via an unfunded and part-time manner. At this point we are pivoting, making what we have available prior to launching a kickstarter campaign so to gain the necessary critical peer reviews. And to be able to just start writing code. Once we have good free and clear peer reviews, we’ll launch a kickstarter campaign.
There is a public version of the project repository on GitHub located at https://github.com/relengcom/votes that is a mirror of an upstream private repo. That page is a good starting point and includes a link to a kickstarter project video:
We are looking for peer reviews in the technical, political, legal, and UX space. We are also looking for volunteer software developers. If interested, please reach out – see Contacts. Thanks!