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Electronic Elections

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
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Since the 2000 presidential election, the United States has been embroiled in debates about electronic voting. Critics say the new technologies invite tampering and fraud. Advocates say they enhance the accuracy of vote counts and make casting ballots easier--and ultimately foster greater political participation. Electronic Elections cuts through the media spin to assess the advantages and risks associated with different ways of casting ballots--and shows how e-voting can be the future of American democracy.

Elections by nature are fraught with risk. Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall fully examine the range of past methods and the new technologies that have been created to try to minimize risk and accurately reflect the will of voters. Drawing upon a wealth of new data on how different kinds of electronic voting machines have performed in recent elections nationwide, they evaluate the security issues that have been the subject of so much media attention, and examine the impacts the new computer-based solutions is having on voter participation. Alvarez and Hall explain why the benefits of e-voting can outweigh the challenges, and they argue that media coverage of the new technologies has emphasized their problems while virtually ignoring their enormous potential for empowering more citizens to vote. The authors also offer ways to improve voting technologies and to develop more effective means of implementing and evaluating these systems.

Electronic Elections makes a case for how e-voting can work in the United States, showing why making it work right is essential to the future vibrancy of the democratic process.

Election Fraud: Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation

Date Published: 
05/05/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Susan Hyde
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The potential for fraud overshadows elections around the world, even in long-established democracies. Significant allegations of fraud marred recent elections in Italy, Mexico, and several former Soviet republics. In the United States, charges of manipulation in the 2000 presidential contest heightened concern about the vulnerability of all aspects of the election process, ranging from voter registration to the security of high-tech voting machines.

Fair and competitive elections are the bedrock of democratic government. They are essential mechanisms for providing public accountability, transparency, and representation. They give ordinary citizens the opportunity to choose those who govern and to express their views on the critical issues facing their community or nation. Fraud derails this process by preventing voters' voices from being heard. Yet despite its importance, too little is known about election fraud and manipulation.

Election Fraud presents research on defining, measuring, and detecting election fraud and electoral manipulation by leading scholars of election law, election administration, and U.S. and comparative politics. The first part of the book examines the U.S. understanding of election fraud in comparative perspective. The second part empirically investigates the extent and nature of election fraud in the United States. The concluding section analyzes techniques for detecting and potentially deterring fraud. These strategies include both statistical analysis and on-the-ground election monitoring.

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