----- Original Message ----
From: David RR Webber (XML) <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, 10 April, 2007 6:32:37 PM
Subject: [election-services] Cellphones - the ultimate thin-client voting terminal?
While this may appear at first paradoxical - given the aversion to wireless technology and voting places - in reality - cellphone technology creates an extreme lowcost solution for countries wanting advantages of evoting without the cost.
Also - because people in developing countries can operate a cellphone - it requires almost no training.
Large sized cardboard printed ballot instructions can be used to augment the small screen size during voting - and even provide privacy screening. Audio prompting is also possible - and vote confirmation.
The idea then is to create custom voting cellphones - that are used specifically in voting situations to record peoples votes - in effect a miniature computer.
Voting officials would hand an authorized voter a phone - they vote - then return the phone for re-activation to allow next voter to cast.
Text messaging and paper ballot printing are options to confirm peoples voting choices. External touch LEDs could also be supported via port on bottom of the cellphone for handicapped voting.
I propose to develop a whitepaper over the next few weeks exploring this - and OASIS EML combined - so that practical applications for real elections can be envisioned. I have already received offers of help on this from Bangladesh University and my colleagues in OVS - and we'd be happy to have EML members as part of that too.
Already I'm seeing three modes of operation:
1) Standalone - the wireless capability of the phone is disabled - and each cellphone is used to record votes - sealed into a ballot box at the voting station - and then returned to central facilities for authentication and counting.
2) Local sub-station use - mobile facility ( e.g. 3-wheeler motorbike with generator and battery ) provides instant cellular support during election at remote facility. Can reach out to central facilitities for vote transmission.
3) National cellular coverage - allows full operational control - including GPS verification.
What I find interesting here is that India has already had success with laptops with seals - the cellphone idea merely takes the approach to the next logical level. While nothing is ever 100% perfect - this seems to offer an major cost breakthrough and access ability and security beyond current paper-only ballotting systems.
"The way to be is to do" - Confucius (551-472 B.C.)