Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rebecca Mercuri: Holt and Avante Backyard Buddies

Delving a bit deeper into the Rush Holt array of voting protection measures and legislative presentations, we find a piece by Rebecca Mercuri, Connecting the Dots? Rush Holt, HR 811, and Avante International. See the following for Mercuri Method and patent of "something."

Mercuri, Rebecca T., “Physical Verifiability of Computer Systems,” Notable Software, 1997. “Voters Prefer To See Their Votes Recorded On Paper



We have to be aware of any connections any legislator anywhere has with any company or owners of companies which promote a product designed to solve electronic voting machine (paperless) "problems." That's all we can do. Lay out as much info as possible for ourselves and your information.

See our follow-up posting about Avante's in-depth response to Mercuri and others


Why did this issue arise today of all days? New Jersey had voting machine problems in a district where NJ Governor Corzine votes.


The situation has to raise eyebrows. You'd think every single district would have run tests for two months knowing the law in NJ at some point is going to be implemented to require a Voter verified paper ballot.

Net the Truth Online

Connecting the Dots? Rush Holt, HR 811, and Avante International
SOURCE: OpEdNews July 13, 2007

Connecting the Dots? Rush Holt, HR 811, and Avante International
Holt and Avante -- Backyard Buddies By Rebecca Mercuri

Consider this scenario: If Avante wins its patent lawsuit against the "big three" vendors, HR 811 could bring billions of dollars to Holt's home district. Here's how it could happen...

...In a one-two punch, Avante's key patent, #7036730 "Electronic Voting Aparatus, System and Method," also includes claims that pertain to "a Braille device," "an aural device," and "voice recognition apparatus."(3) Conveniently, Holt's bill happens to also include requirements that there be "at least one voting system equipped for individuals with disabilities at each polling place" that "allows the voter to privately and independently verify the individual, durable paper ballot through the conversion of the human-readable printed or marked vote selections into accessible form."

So, Avante could be the "spoiler" in thwarting implementation of Holt's bill, if the court rules in their favor and they (or the Judge) choose to recall or destroy all of the deployed and infringing VVPAT and disability accessible voting equipment, just a few months prior to the November 2008 Presidential election. Alternatively, all of HR 811's $1B, plus a potentially large chunk of the prior $3B bonanza that voting system vendors had received from the 2002 HAVA legislation, may wander back to Holt's election district, since Avante, as Mark Crispin Miller recently noted (4), just happens to be located in his "backyard."...

...Ultimately what emerged in Holt's revised bill is a requirement that could potentially become the first Federal law to instantiate the use of nondisclosure agreements for voting systems (unless State laws waive them) and to further provide that such agreements "shall be governed by the trade secret laws of the applicable State." Despite this explicit vendor-partisan language, various Holt support groups, such as the dubiously-named People For the American Way, have continued to falsely claim that "Rep. Holt's bill requires ... for ALL federal elections starting in 2008: ... No Secret Source Code – ALL voting machine vendors MUST make the machines' software available for inspection" (10) when, in fact, exactly the OPPOSITE is what this bill now says! Interestingly, Holt's own FAQ sheet on the bill (11) entirely avoids mentioning that there's been a complete reversal on his earlier "open source" stance and focuses on activist bashing along with hammering home the fact that the bill does not ban DRE's (great for Avante, since they believe they hold the key patents on the VVPAT DREs).

If any of the above bothers you, try contacting Holt directly (even though you probably won't be satisfied with the response), or better yet, spread the word and let your own congressperson know that this bad piece of compromised and potentially pork-barrel legislation for Holt's "backyard buddy" is far worse than no legislation at all.


Not to make things more complicated, but Rebecca Mercuri's site credits her with inventing the Voter Verified Balloting concept.

One needs to look at the information concerning the "Mercuri Method" as presented in her own works - importantly those that pre-date 2000.

The Mecuri method is named after Rebecca Mercuri who described it in a March 1992 paper entitled "Physical Verifiability of Computer Systems." Her PhD Thesis at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 further elaborated on the topic.[1]


While the paper is mentioned, "Physical Verifiability of Computer Systems," Rebecca T. Mercuri, 5th International Computer Virus and Security Conference, March, 1992, the site doesn't contain a link to the paper.

From Mercuri's site


A Better Ballot Box (2002)



We tracked these issues since year 2000 in VoteFix. See sidebar.

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