World's First National E-Voting Trial etc. (FWD)

Tue Nov 10 19:01:25 PST 1998

Subj:   World's First National E-Voting Trial Scheduled to Take Place Soon in
New Zealand
Date:  Tue, Nov 10, 1998 10:40 AM EDT
From:  transmedia at
X-From: transmedia at (Marc Strassman)
Sender: owner-e-lection at
To: e-lection at

Dear World Netizen,

If the excitement of Jesse Ventura's victory in Minnesota is starting to
wear off, and if waiting for Representative Livingston to be anointed
Speaker of the House and for Attorney General Reno to appoint or not
appoint yet another special prosecutor to investigate the softness or
hardness of the money that President Clinton used to get himself
re-elected in 1996 is not sufficiently gripping to hold your interest,
you might want to consider the project now being mounted by Campaign for
Digital Democracy (California-based) and Polemic Associates (New
Zealand-based) to test a secure, convenient, and cost-effective
Internet- and phone-based voting system with 20,805 New Zealanders as
beta testers and a cast of real parties, real and imaginary politicians,
invited hackers, and various journalists, foundations, sponsoring
corporations and assorted hangers on from both sides of the Pacific. 
This project, described below in an article by Bernard Steeds of the New
Zealand Press Association, which was recently published in the Evening
Post in New Zealand, and in a proposal to potential funders, will
include a small alpha test before the end of 1998 and a larger beta
test, probably in February of 1999, involving 20,805 voters, which is 1%
of the voting population of the dual-island nation in the South Pacific.

Efforts are underway to involve volunteer voters, hackers who will
detect weaknesses in the system, reporters to cover the story, academics
to study those aspects of the process of interest to them, foundations
to provide some of the project's US$30,000 budget, and corporations who
want to gain publicity and good will by sponsoring all or part of the

Anyone who wants to be updated regularly on the New Zealand Electronic
Elections Trial (NZEET) as it progresses may do so by subscribing to the
Campaign for Digital Democracy moderated mailing list.  To do that,
click here:

This list is maintained at no cost to the Campaign for Digital Democracy
by Listbot, which is part of the LinkExchange operation, which was just
bought by Microsoft Corporation.  Since they want to get something for
their trouble, they will ask you to provide valuable, private,
confidential information about yourself.  DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM!

Just sign up with your e-mail address, give yourself a password, and get
out of there.  We may soon move the mailing list to friendlier environs,
but for now this is an interesting way to stay in touch, just as long as
you don't tell them anything about yourself.

For more information about this initiative from Campaign for Digital
Democracy, or (if you're media) to discuss it with those involved, just
drop me an e-mail at transmedia at

More soon from the Campaign for Digital Democracy mailing list about the
"99 in 99" campaign to pass digital voting legislation in every state
legislative house in the country next year, the "Vote-by-(e)Mail
project, and renewed efforts to bring electronic voting to California,
now that the state will have a Democratic governor beginning 12:01 am,
Monday, January 4, 1999.

And if you hurry, you can catch me answering the most frequently-asked
questions about electronic voting by inserting the following URL into
the Open Location slot in the RealPlayer G2 module:


If you're not an experienced streaming video user yet, just go to:

and download the free RealPlayer G2.

Install it and open it.

Then pull down the File menu, select Open Location, and drop this URL
into the white rectangle:


Click OK and wait for it to connect and buffer the video stream.

Once it's going you can click on the magnifying glass near the left top
corner of the picture to modify the size of the image.

Feel free to re-send this message to others who might want to view the
clip as well.


Marc Strassman
Executive Director, Campaign for Digital Democracy
President, Transmedia Communications

pls q 0600
   (Eds: with internet-politics)
   By Bernie Steeds of NZPA
   Wellington, Nov 4 - About 20,000 New Zealanders will next year 
be asked to act as guinea pigs in a mock election in which voting 
will be done over the phone and internet, trialing a system which 
could one day be used for general elections.
   At the same time, hackers will be asked to try to hack into the 
system and distort the ``election'' results.
   The system, called Integrated Electronic Election System (IEES) 
has been developed by Californian company Transmedia Communications 
Ltd. It is working in New Zealand with consultant Rex Widerstrom, a 
former NZ First adviser.
   The system has already been used for elections by private 
organisations in the United States. Transmedia sees the trial as the
first step towards offering the system to governments -- including New
Zealand's -- for use in public elections.
   Transmedia president Marc Strassman told NZPA by e-mail from 
California that New Zealand had been chosen because of its high 
level of technological development, ``technically-literate'' 
population, and tradition of democracy.
   ``Also, it's not too big and not too small to run a useful trial 
at reasonable cost.''
   He said the company was trying to recruit 20,850 voters to take 
   They would be sent confidential pin numbers, and would use these 
to register votes either by telephone (via an 0800 number) or 
internet, in a mock election, possibly as soon as February.
   The election is likely to use real political parties, but fake 
candidate names, while the referendum is likely to ask a question 
about making New Zealand a republic.
   The company has already asked political parties to check out the 
system and plans this month to start raising the $50,000 it needs to
fund the trial.
   Mr Strassman said if the trial went well, ``the next step would 
be to make the political case for adopting this electronic voting 
system for use in New Zealand and all other countries''.
   Electronic voting could lead to lower costs and higher 
participation in elections, and would also make it easier for New 
Zealanders to vote from overseas, he said.
   Chief electoral officer Phil Whelan told NZPA he had not been 
contacted by Transmedia or Mr Widerstrom but would be interested in 
hearing how the trial went.
   His office had been approached with several phone voting and 
electronic voting systems, and he believed it was possible some 
could be trialled in public elections as early as 2002.
   ``New Zealand is one of the areas in the world that is keen to 
embrace new technology, and if the voting public is keen on 
something that's going to make it more efficient for them then that's
something we should be considering.''
   However, he said, any new system would have to match existing 
standards of secrecy and integrity.
   Questions would also have to be answered about whether the phone 
system could handle two million votes being cast on a single day, 
and whether people could get access to touchtone phones or the 
   Mr Whelan said public electronic voting booths in places like 
lotto or TAB outlets could -- in theory, at least -- be a 
   The IEEC system is one of two significant developments in 
internet-based election systems expected to be trialled in New 
   The other is an internet-based system for holding political 
conferences and debates, which was used in this year's German 
elections but has not yet been used in English.
   NZPA PAR bs

"Request for New Zealand Electronic Elections Trial Funding" (RNZEETF)

Dear Foundation or Corporation,

I'm writing to ask for your support in underwriting the world's first
nationwide beta test of Internet- and telephone-based voting, scheduled,
if we can get the funding, for the beginning of 1999 in New Zealand.

This "shadow virtual balloting" will give 20,805 New Zealand voters (1%
of the number of registered voters) an opportunity to use their
computers or their telephones to participate in a mock election where
they can vote on individual candidates, parties, preferences for prime
minister, and even an initiative question ("Should New Zealand become a
republic, and select its own head of state?")  (New Zealand doesn't
normally have initiatives in its elections, although it does have

This first-ever national test of the Integrated Electronic Elections
System (IEES), which enables electronic voting over the Internet and by
phone, is being planned and carried out by an international group of
companies and organizations, including the Campaign for Digital
Democracy, Transmedia Communications, Polemic Associates, Interactive
Certified Elections, and a Big 4 accounting firm still to be named.  The
project will be coordinated by the New Zealand Electronic Voting
Foundation, a non-profit organization, now being formed.

Following what promises to be a lively mock election campaign by the
candidates and parties involved, more than 20,000 New Zealanders will go
to their computers or their phones and access an electronic ballot that
will offer them the same choices they'd have on a paper ballot. 
Clicking their mouse or punching their phone's keypad will let them
record their choices as to candidates, parties, and the initiative
question.  Their computer screen or phone speaker will display or read
back their choices.  Then the voter will validate these choices by
clicking on the "submit" button or by punching a phone keypad number. 
The IEES is fast, convenient, and secure.

The totals will be tabulated and announced online to the participating
voters, then to the media.  Data will be gathered on the operations of
the system in order to improve its performance in future elections. 
Improved and refined versions of this Integrated Electronic Elections
System will be tested in other countries and, eventually, will be
offered to governments worldwide for normal operational use in elections
at all levels.  The implementation of secure, convenient electronic
elections technology will reduce government costs, increase convenience
to voters and hence turnout levels, make voting more secure, as well as
easier for the disabled, and make it possible for voters away from their
home precincts to vote wherever they can find Internet or phone access.

Interactive Certified Elections will be providing the core technology
for this test and will be managing the voting operations.  Campaign for
Digital Democracy, the leading advocacy group for online voting, will
handle media coverage for the event, along with Transmedia
Communications.  Polemic Associates, a global consortium of political
consultants based in New Zealand, will coordinate relations with the New
Zealand political community and recruit 20,805 voters for the test.  The
major accounting firm will audit the voting procedures, as well as the
project's budget.

Interactive Certified Elections will receive $15,000.  Campaign for
Digital Democracy and Transmedia Communications will receive $5,000, as
will Polemic Associates.  Five thousand dollars will be used for
administrative support and unforeseen expenses.

We are asking foundations and corporations such as yours, which have
expressed a commitment to building a more democratic 21st century
through the creative application of this century's best technology, to
join with us and provide some of the $30,000 we need to allow 20,000
free men and women to become the first to use the tools that we hope
will become to future democratic civilizations was the printing press
was to the Enlightenment and fire was to our Neo-Lithic ancestors, a
means of raising all mankind a little higher out of the mud and a little
closer to the stars.

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