Latest Research from the VTP

The Reliability of Electronic Voting Machines in Georgia

Working Paper No.: 
20
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
No abstract available.

Immediate Steps To Avoid Lost Votes In The 2004 Presidential Election: Recommendations For The Election Assistance Commission

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
We recommend four immediate steps that the Election Assistance Commision (EAC) should take to improve the electoral process for the November 2004 presidential election. We also provide below a number of other steps that we believe are necessary for avoiding lost votes in the presidential election this fall. However, as time and resources are limited, we recognize that these additional steps might be difficult to achieve nationwide by November.

An Active Approach to Voting Verification

Working Paper No.: 
28
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Sharon Cohen
Ted Selker
As our voting systems have come to rely more deeply on computer technology there have been great opportunities to improve the voting process, however, recently computer scientists and the general public have become wary of the amount of trust we place in the computers running our elections. Many proposals for audit systems to monitor our elections have been created. One popular audit system is the voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). Another more recent proposal is the voter verified audio audit transcript trail (VVAATT).

Precinct Voting Denial of Service

Working Paper No.: 
39
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
No abstract available.

Potential Threats to Statewide Voter Registration Systems

Working Paper No.: 
40
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
No abstract available.

Challenges Facing the American Electoral System: Research Priorities for the Social Sciences

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Michael Traugott
Samuel Popkin
Nelson W. Polsby
This report summarizes the activities and findings of the National Research Commission on Elections and Voting, organized in October, 2004 by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to serve as a scholarly resource for nonpartisan insight into challenges facing the American electoral process.

Voter Removal from Registration List Based on Name Matching is Unreliable

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Alexandre Buer
Ted Selker
The voter registration list is the information backbone for the administration of elections. Keeping it up-to-date is a difficult task that can expose officials to accusations of voter disenfranchisement. We review here some of the problems that affected Florida elections, explore some solutions proposed with the Help America Vote Act of 2002 in regards to voter registration maintenance, and illustrate these with an experiment on the actual voter rolls from Florida.

Voting Machines, Race and Equal Protection

Author(s): 
Stephen Ansolabehere
Journal: 
Election Law Journal
pp: 
61-70
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
No abstract available.

Electronic Elections

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
electronic_elections.jpg

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.

Point, Click, and Vote

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
point_click_vote.jpg

Whether responding to a CNN.com survey or voting for the NFL All-Pro team, computer users are becoming more and more comfortable with Internet polls. Computer use in the United States continues to grow—more than half of all American households now have a personal computer. The next question, then, becomes obvious. Should Americans be able to use the Internet in the most important polls of all?

Some advocates of Internet voting argue that Americans are well suited to casting their ballots online in political elections. They are eager to make use of new technology, and they have relatively broad access to the Internet. Voting would become easier for people stuck at home, at the office, or on the road. Internet voting might encourage greater political participation among young adults, a group that stays away from the polling place in droves. It would hold special appeal for military personnel overseas, whose ability to vote is a growing concern. There are serious concerns, however, regarding computer security and voter fraud, unequal Internet access across socioeconomic lines (the "digital divide"), and the civic consequences of moving elections away from schools and other polling places and into private homes and offices. After all, showing up to vote is the most public civic activity many Americans engage in, and it is often their only overt participation in the democratic process.

In Point, Click, and Vote, voting experts Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall make a strong case for greater experimentation with Internet voting. In their words, "There is no way to know whether any argument regarding Internet voting is accurate unless real Internet voting systems are tested, and they should be tested in small-scale, scientific trials so that their successes and failures can be evaluated." In other words, you never know until you try, and it's time to try harder.

The authors offer a realistic plan for putting pilot remote Internet voting programs into effect nationwide. Such programs would allow U.S. voters in selected areas to cast their ballots over any Internet connection; they would not even need to leave home. If these pilot programs are successful, the next step is to consider how they might be implemented on a larger scale in future elections.

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