Latest Research from the VTP

19th Century Ballot Reform in California: A Study of the Huntington Library's Political Ephemera Collection

Working Paper No.: 
1
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Melanie Goodrich
Caltech
Ballot reform is an important part of the American political process. During the 1800’s, ballots changed drastically. At the beginning of the century, voters wrote the names of the candidates for whom they wished to vote on a piece of paper and put that piece of paper into the ballot box. Legislation followed that allowed voters to cast professionally printed ballots, which opened the door to political parties providing their supporters with pre-printed ballots to cast. Towards the close of the century, the Australian ballot, also known as the secret ballot, was introduced

Residual Votes Attributable to Technology: An Assessment of the Reliability of Existing Voting Technologies

Working Paper No.: 
2
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
American elections are conducted using a hodge-podge of different voting technologies: paper ballots, lever machines, punch cards, optically scanned ballots, and electronic machines. And the technologies we use change frequently. Over the last two decades, counties have moved away from paper ballots and lever machines and toward optically scanned ballots and electronic machines. The changes have not occurred from a concerted initiative, but from local experimentation. Some local governments have even opted to go back to the older methods of paper and levers.

A Modular Voting Architecture ("FROGS")

Working Paper No.: 
3
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Ronald Rivest
MIT
David Jefferson
We present a “modular voting architecture” in which “vote generation” is performed separately from “vote casting.”

Ballot Design Options

Working Paper No.: 
4
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Does ballot design “matter”? Does the design of ballots influence how voters cast their ballots, and thereby affect the outcome of an election? Anecdotal evidence indicates that ballot design may be a very important factor in American elections. Probably the most well-known ballot design question is the now infamous “butterfly” ballot design, from the 2000 Florida election.

Who Overvotes, Who Undervotes, Using Punchcards? Evidence from Los Angeles County

Working Paper No.: 
7
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
D.E. "Betsy" Sinclair
Caltech
R. Michael Alvarez
In this study we examine over- and undervotes from the November 2000 General Election in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County is the nation's largest election jurisdiction and it used a punchcard voting system in that election. We use precincts as our unit of analysis and merge the 2000 election data with census data and voter registration data; our dataset allows us to examine all of the countywide races in 2000 (including candidate and ballot measures).

The Complexity of the California Recall Election

Working Paper No.: 
9
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
D. Roderick Kiewiet
Caltech
Melanie Goodrich
The October 7, 2003 California Recall Election strained California’s direct democracy. In recent California politics there has not been a statewide election conducted on such short notice; county election officials were informed on July 24 that the election would be held on October 7. Nor has California recently seen a ballot with so many candidates running for a single statewide office. With easy ballot access requirements, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley certified 135 candidates for the official ballot on August 13.

The SAVE System: Secure Architecture for Voting Electronically

Author(s): 
Ted Selker
Jonathan Goler
Journal: 
BT Technology Journal
pp: 
89-119
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Existing technology is capable of yielding secure, reliable, and auditable voting systems. This system outlines an architecture for polling place electronic voting, based on redundancy at each stage of the ballot submission process that is resistant to external hacking and internal insertion of malicious code. The proposed architecture addresses all layers of the system beyond the point when a voter commits the ballot. These steps include the verification of eligibility to vote, authentication, and aggregation of the vote.

Who Overvotes, Who Undervotes, Using Punchcards? Evidence from Los Angeles County

Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
D.E. "Betsy" Sinclair
Journal: 
Political Research Quarterly
pp: 
15-25
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
In this study we examine over- and undervotes from the November 2000 General Election in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County is the nation's largest election jurisdiction and it used a punchcard voting system in that election. We use precincts as our unit of analysis and merge the 2000 election data with census data and voter registration data; our dataset allows us to examine all of the countywide races in 2000 (including candidate and ballot measures).

The Complexity of the California Recall Election

Author(s): 
Sarah M. Sled
Melanie Goodrich
Thad E. Hall
Journal: 
PS: Political Science and Politics
pp: 
23-26
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
The October 7, 2003 California Recall Election strained California’s direct democracy. In recent California politics there has not been a statewide election conducted on such short notice; county election officials were informed on July 24 that the election would be held on October 7. Nor has California recently seen a ballot with so many candidates running for a single statewide office. With easy ballot access requirements, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley certified 135 candidates for the official ballot on August 13.

Studying Elections: Data Quality and Pitfalls in Measuring the Effects of Voting Technologies

Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
Stephen Ansolabehere
R. Michael Alvarez
Journal: 
Policy Studies Journal
pp: 
15-24
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Professor Geralyn Miller reminds us of the range of voting administration practices across the United States. We use this variability to study the average performance of various types of voting equipment throughout the country (Ansolabehere and Stewart n.d.). Professor Miller suggests that the performance of equipment is, in fact, quite variable across states.

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