California Clean Money Campaign endorses San Francisco Open-Source Voting System Project

* Asks San Francisco to fully fund development of its public, open-source paper ballot voting system to enhance security of elections

By Press Release
California Clean Money Campaign, February 21st, 2018

San Francisco, CA -- After increased evidence of Russian attempts to undermine U.S. elections, including reports by the Department of Homeland Security that Russians targeted voter rolls in 21 states and successfully broke into more than one state's official database of voters, the California Clean Money Campaign has joined elections and security experts calling for expedited development of public, open-source paper ballot voting systems to increase the security and transparency of our elections.

"Americans fear for the security of our democracy. Public, open-source paper ballot voting systems would dramatically increase the security and transparency of our elections", said Trent Lange, President of the California Clean Money Campaign. "That's why the California Clean Money Campaign joins open-source and electoral reform advocates lauding San Francisco for its Open Source Voting System Project. We encourage San Francisco to fully fund and develop it as quickly as possible."

Private proprietary voting systems are fundamentally insecure. A top-to-bottom review of certified voting systems by the Secretary of State in 2007 uncovered serious security flaws including the ability to change vote totals. The report concluded that "The security mechanisms provided for all systems analyzed were inadequate to ensure accuracy and integrity of the election results." Many of these security flaws still haven't been addressed. At the 2017 DEF CON security conference testing proprietary voting systems "every piece of equipment … was effectively breached in some manner". The final DEF CON report concluded it was a "national security threat".

San Francisco County is currently completing the initial planning phase of a project to replace proprietary voting systems with a more secure open-source system using paper ballots. If it uses the GNU General Public License 3.0 for open source as currently planned, all counties in California -- and the rest of the country -- will be able to freely use or build on San Francisco's system for their own elections, with their improvements also being publicly-available for other jurisdictions. The San Francisco Elections Commission has unanimously requested $4 million for the first stages of open-source development.

"At a time of crisis of confidence in our elections systems, San Francisco has the opportunity to lead California and the nation to more transparent and secure elections by rapidly finishing development and certification of its public, open-source paper ballot voting system", said Trent Lange. "All counties will be able to build on the resulting system to lower costs and increase security and confidence in elections."

Efforts to replace inherently insecure proprietary voting systems with open-source systems date back to 2004 with the founding of the Open Voting Consortium and the proposal of its founder, Alan Dechert, to build open-source voting systems to print and count paper ballots verified by voters. The California Association of Voting Officials estimates that such systems would not only be more secure, but would also cut costs to jurisdictions by half compared to proprietary systems from corporate vendors.

San Francisco's Open Source Voting Project is also endorsed by other organizations including California Association of Voting Officials, California Common Cause, Code for San Francisco, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FairVote, GitHub, National Election Defense Coalition, Open Source Initiative, Open Source Election Technology Foundation, Represent.Us San Francisco, Voting Rights Task Force, and both the San Francisco Democratic Party and San Francisco Green Party.

A survey of California Clean Money Campaign's more than 110,000 California supporters found that expediting development of San Francisco's open-source system was one of our activists' top priorities.


The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization that has been dedicated to educating the public about the need to lessen the unfair influence of Big Money on election campaigns since 2001. For further information, visit

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