Another open letter to Larry Ellison<

Another open letter to Larry Ellison<

Summary: This year's rather one sided polls in the American election suggest that vote cheating won't affect many outcomes - but races in 2012 may be tighter and reducing the uncertainties this creates for the economy is both a technology and a leadership challenge.

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Dear Mr. Ellison:

Re: The opportunity in political uncertainty and concerns over voting fraud in 2012

It now appears likely that the coming American mid term elections will hand control of both houses of Congress to people who are strongly motivated to reverse policies whose effects they see as creating and extending the current depression while weakening and degrading the American idea. What is less obvious is that the effect the changes they make have on the economy depends a lot on the degree to which they're able to convince the smaller players whose collective decisions determine American prosperity that the change in direction is stable, longer term, and "for real" - what they'll have to do to really succeed, in other words, is get people to believe that the 2012 election results will uphold and extend the renewed commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and American exceptionalism represented by tea party candidates today.

I'm sure, Mr. Ellison, that you have many opportunities, both as an individual and as the leader of your company, to contribute to your country; but I'd cheerfully bet thousands of my own dollars that none exceed in scope and significance the opportunities you have in helping clean up voting fraud and the consequent electoral and economic uncertainties across your country and around the world.

Patriotism, not party loyalty, counts here
I'm Canadian; but if I were American, I'd be a Republican and a tea partier - so of course I write from that viewpoint. In this case, however, it shouldn't matter: Republicans believe that Democrats cheat, and Democrats reflexively accuse Republicans of it - but this blog isn't about who cheats most: it's about using Oracle's technology to reduce the cost of elections while ensuring that all legitimate voters are fairly and accurately represented in the outcomes.
There's a hidden message here too: IT management is not about technology - it's about what you can do with it and for whom.

Obviously the actual processes of getting the solutions sold and then making them all work across thousands of affected governing bodies - at the state, territory, agency, municipal, county, and school levels - are going to be seriously non trivial; but the core ideas are almost trivial in their simplicity and straightforwardness.

The goal is a single system - parts of which can be used independently at any time to handle voting on state or local issues but which, in operation during national elections, uses an Apache/DB style application presented via Sun Rays installed in schools and offices to collect the vote at local, state, and national levels: all in near real time, all with clear auditability, and all at a few percent of today's cost of running elections at similar scales.

Sun Ray is not a client -thin or otherwise
This idea stands on two techno-facts:

  1. Sun Ray is not a client. There is no program execution on the Sun Ray and so no opportunity to falsify its operation. An expert called into court to testify on the security of any locally programmable voting device, no matter how cleverly designed, has to say "Yes" when asked whether it is theoretically possible to make the thing cheat - and "no" when asked the same question about a Sun Ray.

    Basically, electoral officials have to secure a few servers in controlled environments, not thousands of voting devices spread across hundreds of polling stations and managed by people who break them out of warehouses for a few days once every two years.

  2. the server based nature of the voting application breaks the link between voter and polling place. Thus most absentee/advance voting will disappear, and someone posted to outer timbucktoo can vote at the local PX in the same time frame, on the same ballot, and with the same convenience as his mother votes at her local school.

The selling strategy is to leverage concern at all levels over the risk of voter fraud in the 2012 elections to gain support for the concept; leverage state, county, and school board cost and privacy concerns along with existing Oracle software to get the Sun Rays installed, supported, and in daily use in schools and offices; leverage national process support to work with local and state level officials to get voter registration issues resolved; and then use state and local votes to debug the voting and vote management processes needed.

With Al Franken smugly in the senate to serve as an exempla horribilis and Dino Rossi quite possibly in the chamber with him, national political support for anything offering a smart, integrated, solution that increases confidence in voting outcomes while reducing cost and risk is as close as politics gets to a gimme - and not a single conservative is going to forget that every apparatchik tactic there is, from fake polls, ACORN registrations, and voter intimidation to the more traditional kinds of manipulation and messaging exemplified in the headlines listed below, will be deployed against the right in 2012.

Illinois Soldiers Wait for Ballots. Prisoners Get Hand Delivery.

Cincinnati Public Schools accused of voter bribery

Michelle Obama Illegally Campaigns INSIDE Polling Place

At the local level, and particularly at the county and school board levels where you most need support to get these systems into place, your salespeople should meet an eager audience - and for two main reasons:

  1. for these people, costs count - a lot. Once they understand that the people advising them not to do the deal are the people who benefit most from keeping the wintel gear in place, all your people will have to do is make the five year combined cost and security case -and that's an easy case to make.

  2. for many of these jurisdictions, the people making this decision will have personally experienced the horrendous pressure the democratic national policy of suing everybody remotely in sight on close losses puts on electoral officials - and because you'll be offering them an option that sidesteps much of the mess, any sales program offering the excuse and comfort of national action will have them stampeding to sign up.

The bottom line, Mr. Ellison, is that people like Catherine Engelbrecht and her friends need your help - and helping them reduce the uncertainties introduced by the expectation of voting fraud in 2012 will be good for the country, good for your company, and good for you.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Legal, Oracle

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15 comments
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  • Patriotism Rudy....

    ....is the last refuge of a scoundrel!
    junknstuff@...
    • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

      You should remember that Rudy is a Canadian citizen.<br><br>To become a Canadian citizen he had to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen of England.<br><br>Probably at this very moment he is busy recruiting a troop of redcoats to bring the USA back under the colonial heel. <br><br>The USA will then be forced to pay taxes to the Brits and will not be represented in the British parliament. As you've probably heard, Britain has a huge debt problem and the money is needed urgently.<br><br>You should perhaps also bear in mind the UK is a nuclear power and has just entered into a program of military co-operation with the US's arch-enemy; the French.<br><br>Remember, Canada has lots of French speakers too!<br><br>Furthermore the UK's head of state and head of the established religion is one and the same person; just like in Iran! <br><br>By the way Rudy you should give a detailed market analysis of the prospected revenue and profit from this venture so that Larry can concentrate on his main objective; obtaining good returns for his shareholders.
      jorwell
      • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

        @jorwell -tsk, tsk, tsk

        You are a living example of Ugly American and give all Americans a bad name with your uninformed ramblings (and you aren't even proven or proclaimed to be an American).

        para 1 - just because Rudy lives in Canada doesn't make him a Canadian citizen.

        para 2. I am a Canadian citizen and was never required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen of England - I was born in Canada, therefor I am eligible to be a Canadian citizen.

        paras 3, 4, and 5 only display your ignorance for all readers to see.

        para 6. - and your point is?

        para 7. There is a Church of England. There also are many Roman Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Russian Orthodox (and the list goes on) shades of religion present in England, Canada, and even, I suspect, where ever you reside. Even "the US's arch enemy;the French / France" are much more tolerant than Iran. What are your motives for making such a ridiculous statement?
        baggypants@...
      • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

        @baggypants<br><br>From Rudy's blog post "Im Canadian". So I have to assume that he is a Canadian citizen.<br><br>From previous posts of his we have been led to believe that he emigrated to Canada (from the Netherlands). Hence he would have had to take the oath of loyalty.<br><br>Regarding the "living example of the Ugly American", I was hoping that it wasn't necessary to enclose my post in parody tags.<br><br>If Rudy loves the US so much why isn't he living there instead of moaning on about how bad Canada is much of the time? I wonder what he has to complain about now the Canadians have their own bonsai Bush in the shape of Stephen Harper.
        jorwell
      • I'm Canadian too

        @jorwell Nicely done. :-)

        Perhaps baggypants hasn't had his coffee yet.
        snberk341
    • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

      @junknstuff@...

      You don't deserve universal healthcare and a safety net Rudy. You also gave us a link to FoxNews, that bastion of fairness and in-depth reporting.

      Time to move Rudy. Move to the US that you love so much (from a distance, luxuriating in Canada's social support).

      The rise of the Tea Party spells the end for the Republican party and what few moderates remain. Once they do get elected, it will only take a few weeks for the TP paranoids to realise they don't even agree with each other.

      See you can fool some of the people all of the time.

      So please move to the US Rudy or is unemployment support a lot worse there? - maybe Larry can give you a job, I'm sure he needs a laugh ;-)
      tonymcs@...
      • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

        @tonymcs@... <br><br>If Rudy was really serious about this Sun Ray stuff he would be busy applying for every CTO job going in North America so he could have the chance to implement this stuff himself. Then he would have a reference site for us all.<br><br>But instead of that all we hear is a constant whining, like the low moaning of the wind across the prairies, as he hopes that someone else will take the responsibility and it won't be his posterior that is on the line if it doesn't all work as expected. <br><br>Though I suppose he could always blame the failure of the project on an evil conspiracy of Windows and z/OS administrators.
        jorwell
  • An excellent suggestion.

    This would give Oracle a world-wide market - it isn't just the USA that's looking for an e-voting system. Mr Ellison of course would need to avoid over-charging, a temptation that he evidently finds hard to resist.
    peter_erskine@...
  • Just Promise...

    PLEASE run Sarah Palin for president in 2012. The Daily Show needs the ammo.
    civikminded
  • Cheap shot

    Are you from Minnesota? If not will you kindly stop taking cheap shots at my senator. You haven't been watching Coleman all these years. We elected Jesse Ventura to keep him out of the governors office. If you are from Minnesota what did he do relative to voting systems that has you so upset? Spell it out or shut it up.
    lars626
    • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

      @lars626

      Exactly right. Coleman only got in the Senate because Paul Wellstone died. His model wife was too good to live in Minnesota, electing to live in a Hollywood apartment. Good riddance.
      civikminded
      • Meet my evil twin

        @civikminded

        Not on the real topic, but on the excuse:

        "GOP Braces for 'Epidemic' ACORN-style Vote Fraud in Midterms" - http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/gop-vote-fraud-midterms/2010/10/25/id/374791

        and

        2010: Democrats Set Records for Dirtiest Election Ever
        http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/campaign-dirty-tricks-tea/2010/10/24/id/374719

        The guy writing these assumes legalistic solutions - but a tech solution avoiding the uncertainties, lawsuits, and recriminations must surely be better.
        ---
        I've received some personal email excoriating me for assuming that democrats cheat and republicans don't. I don't believe that, I do believe that the people currently in charge of the democratic party treat the law with contempt and cheat as a matter of course - but the main issue here is that we can prevent most of it regardless of which side we're on or which side does most of it.
        murph_z
      • RE: Another open letter to Larry Ellison

        @murph_z

        Didn't the GAO, the DA of Brooklyn, and the AG of California cleared ACORN of any wrongdoing? And wasn't it subsequently proved that James O'Keefe doctored the 'incriminating' ACORN videos?

        It sure reflects well on CPAC that they gave their most prestigious award to a guy who tried to lure a CNN reporter onto a boat full of sex toys.

        The right needs that constant boogyman to keep the idiots and rednecks from waking up and discovering their livelihoods are being stolen from them. Be it communism, ACORN, socialism whatever.

        And no thanks to electronic ballots. Paper ballots perhaps enable small-scale vote fraud. Electronic ballots enable sweeping, unaccountable vote fraud. See Diebold, the company that made e-voting machines who's CEO said they were, and I quote "helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to Bush". Diebold executives are also on record saying that a paper trail in e-voting machines were not feasable. The same paper trail that every Diebold ATM has. ADDITIONALLY they tried to supress reports on how hackable their systems were.

        So if that is what we have to look forward to with e-voting. I'll take a pass.
        civikminded
      • Wrong, and Todays' Drudge headline

        @civikminded <br><br>No - ACORN was not cleared, the videos were real, and<br>the only reason the leaders aren't in jail is that Holder et al don't prosecute cheaters on their side. Sorry, but you really need to do a little homework on this - try googling for "Christopher Coates" .<br><br>-- Today's drudge headlines highlight the need for someone to do something about this - and whether the allegations are true or not the allegations by themselves suffice to corrupt the process.<br><br>'I WENT TO VOTE AND HARRY REID'S NAME WAS ALREADY CHECKED'<br>and a second story headlined: "N CAROLINA: I VOTED REPUBLICAN AND MACHINE CHECKED DEMOCRAT..."<br>from which:<br><blockquote><br>Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.<br><br>They pushed it twice and the same thing happened, Laughinghouse said. That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted.<br><br>M. Ray Wood, Craven County Board of elections chairman, issued a written statement saying that the elections board is aware of isolated issues and that in each case the voter was able to cast his or her ballot as desired.<br><br>Chuck Tyson, chairman of Craven County GOP, remains skeptical. He has been communicating with Wood about the issue and was invited to a meeting Wednesday with state elections officials. There were no further details about that meeting.<br><br>Something is not right here, Tyson told the Sun Journal. He said he got two or three calls from people describing the same problem while they were voting.<br><br>Ill be matter of fact, I didnt find that press release satisfactory, Tyson said, referring to Woods written statement.<br><br>Tyson reported other problems as well, including long lines waiting for just two voting machines in Havelock, and machines reporting 250 ballots cast where 400 voters had signed in to vote.<br></BLOCKQUOTE><br><br>As you are probably not aware, Ohio in 2008 reported long lines and heavy voting but counted only an average number of votes - a number precisely predicted in a CNN news bulletin 13 minutes before the count was completed.<br><br>On the other hand you're quite right to be concerned about Diebold, not because the company is corrupt but because the machines they make are easily corrupted. On which see... hundreds of google hits.<br><br>The point here isn't who's right or who cheats, the point is that we can fix it - most easily if a company like Oracle puts some muscle behind doing that.
        murph_z
  • Larry Ellison is evil

    Larry Ellison is evil;he burdens millions of its java users by its partnership with ASK toolbar. A few more dollars in his pocket at the cost daily of millions of manipulated internet users who should hate his guts. He's a spineless feeding off users of his Java. WHY doesn't he stop. Was Hitler a relative?
    frankmaris