eVote 2.52 Manual
Copyright (c) 2003 by Deliberate.Com
All rights reserved.
by Marilyn Davis, Ph.D. Deliberate.Com
(650) 965-7121

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being "Dedication", "About eVote's Patent", "Preface", "Acknowledgments", "Non-Public Poll Risks", "Warnings About Non-Public Polls", "Petition Privacy", and "eVote's Licenses" with no Front-Cover Texts and with the no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".



a tool
for tilling
the common ground
of what we can become together
is dedicated to



Table of Contents

Table of Contents
About eVote's Patent

Chapter I -Overview-

Chapter II -eVote for Voters-

The Email List Voting Facility The Petition Facility

Chapter III -eVote for User/Administrators-

The Email List Voting Facility The Petition Facility

Chapter IV -eVote for List Owners-

Information for Owners of All eVoted Lists Owners of Petition Lists

Chapter V -eVote for Site Administrators-

Architecture/Overview Installation The Petition Facility Administration - A Deeper Look If There's Trouble

Chapter VI - eVote/Clerk for Programmers -

Source Code
eVote's Directory Structure
Source files
Serialized Executables

Chapter VII - eVote/Clerk Licenses -

eVote(R)/Clerk Software License
GNU Free Documentation License



If you find a bug, please report it to eVote-users@deliberate.com. Open bugs are reported at http://www.deliberate.com/bugs.html


About eVote's Patent

The patent on eVote's Clerk is a device to encourage standardized online vote-keeping so that building a global electro-democratic community is a relatively easy task.

All eVote's patented techniques and methods are hereby freely offered for anyone to use as long as the following three conditions are met:

You must obtain explicit written permission from Deliberate.Com to use the patented techniques and methods for any purpose that can possibly, or even remotely, be construed as not satisfying these three conditions.

Although the use of eVote's patented engineering methods are restricted, there are no restrictions on the use of eVote/Clerk itself.

Everyone is welcome to install and use eVote.



eVote/Clerk is software that provides decision-making support for online communities.

I hope you find it fun and easy to use. It is, after all, software, and bound to have inadequacies. Please advise me of any you find.

Marilyn Davis



I acknowledge the work of the Whatever in filling my imagination with visions of this software and my heart with the desire to make it; and in bringing me the opportunity, helpers, and hardware to complete it.

I am grateful for and to my son, Charles Wesley Davis for keeping me centered and balanced through this difficult project by giving me something more important to do: mothering him.

First thanks go to Clinton Bruce Davis, Charlie's father and my colleague and friend, for enthusiastic, insightful, tenacious, and reliable hardware and software support.

Most special thanks go to John J. Jacq who has brought eVote to the Web and thereby brought it attention. John has been eVote's right hand through many projects.

eVote is indebted to eVote's first two administrators: Laurent Chemla who translated the mail interface to French and who has helped with many sticky email issues; and Dustin Marquess who has helped with scripting issues.

Thank you to Ann Scheuerell, Jim Stockford, Rubye Cervelli, Reid Ewing, Charlie Davis, Tony Pratt, Rich Tucker, Grey Fox and John Burke for help with documentation and for relentlessly encouraging me.

Additional thanks go to Sylvia Caras and Chuck Stewart for convincing me to make an email interface for eVote.

I thank Judi Kadish for help with business matters; Philip Hazel for developing exim and for helping to make our system secure, Jay Glicksman, Scott Weikart, Jeff Victor and various members of The Mostly Balkan Folk Dance Club for help with technical matters; Jean Marians Kennedy, my sister, for help with accounting; Harold E. McDermid, Nick L. Kennedy III, and David Pressman, for legal assistance.

Thanks go to the patrons of the Peninsula Fountain and Grille in Palo Alto, CA, for critical financial support.

There are so many other dear friends and acquaintances who have encouraged and inspired me and contributed their thoughts. Among them are Norman Bookstein, Roger Eaton, Mary Engle, Steve Eppley, Margaret H. Favour, Lauri Foster, Richard Foy, Ed Gehrman, Ralph Gilman, Alia Johnson, Bill Leland, Davis McArthur, Genevieve Marcus, Irwin Mann, Richard Maurer, Mike Saari, Tim Stryker, Mike York, Your Name, (please remind me if your name belongs on any of these lists.), Quakers, Yankuikanahuak, Zapatistas, and the Cuna Indians.

And finally, for their unwitting but indispensable assistance, I acknowledge the brilliant contributions of Riane Eisler, Walt Christiansen, Bob Parnes, Charles Roth, Ken Phillips, Bjarne Stroustup, Dennis M. Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Brian W. Kernighan, Richard Stallman, Donald Knuth, Leslie Lamport, Grace Hopper, George Reinhart, Harry Stevens and many others.


Chapter I

eVote provides online petitions, polling, and voting, via email and telnet/ssh. The Clerk is the specialized database server that maintains the vote data.

There are two facilities in eVote's email interface: polling in email lists; and petition support.

The vision of eVote is to decentralize the power in the online voting system and to distribute that power to the regular users. This is done at every opportunity.

Each participant has control over her vote; she is able to change it, as long as the poll is open; she can remove it. These are important features: for empowerment, for security, and for consensus development within the group. eVote as part of an email list environment, honors discussion as the backbone of democracy, and invites the users to change their votes when they change their minds in the course of discussion.

The next chapter of this document, "eVote for Voters", is instructions for those participating in the voting.

The regular users also have the power and responsibility to initialize polls for their email list groups. When the user takes this responsibility, she becomes a "user/administrator".

The third chapter is "eVote for User/Administrators" and contains instructions for the users who wish to empower themselves further.

Each email list has an "owner", the person responsible for the existence of, and smooth running of, the list. eVote provides some tools to help with the owner's job. These are described in "eVote for List Owners", Chapter IV .

The system administrator of the site that runs eVote is responsible for installation and maintenance of the software and for maintaining backups. eVote has made this job as easy as possible, passing most responsibilities to the users and providing tools to automate the rest. The system administrator's instructions are in Chapter V, "eVote/Clerk for Site Administrators".

Back to Table of Contents To Chapter II

Last modified: Tue Mar 4 04:22:43 EST 2003