Online Voting

People ask how we got started in voting. It all started in 1998.

In 1998, the individuals who would become the principals of were working on a simple, Web 1.0 project: gather mock election votes from all public schools in Michigan on the Thursday before election day, then report the tally to the national headquarters.

This project was set to light up the 28.8kbps modems across the state: teachers and students would sign into a Perl CGI application then, using their pre-assigned access code, cast a ballot in a “real” online election.

We learned that day the tenacity of the one Solaris box available to host the system.

There was one encore for before we went on to greener pastures, but eventually the circle would come back to online voting. The requirements haven’t changed—people want online voting to be easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to report out. These principles abide and we hope show through in

One postscript: Legend has it that Jon programmed the core of the initial voting system in one weekend, in a Diet-Coke-fueled coding bender. That is probably true. We know it took two days and a late-night server swap plus remote IP move (with a horrible ARP timeout) for the second version in 2000. We have better processes in place now.

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