Latest Research from the VTP

The Technology of Access: Allowing People of Age to Vote for Themselves

Author(s): 
Ted Selker
Journal: 
McGeorge Law Review
pp: 
1113-1136
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
With changing cognitive abilities, an aging person's independence becomes an issue, and questions arise of whether he or she has the ability or the legal right to take part in some civic activities, such as voting. The question of voting among elderly populations has a legal dimension; in their article, Voting by Residents of Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities: State Law Accomodations, Amy Smith and Charles Sabatino discuss how different states in the United States evaluate what assistive services should be provided to residents of nursing homes.

Using Recounts to Measure the Accuracy of Vote Tabulations: Evidence from New Hampshire Elections 1946-2002

Working Paper No.: 
11
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Andrew Reeves
Harvard University
Stephen Ansolabehere
The 2000 presidential election exposed a surprisingly high level of inaccuracy in the tabulation of ballots. Differences between total vallots cast and votes counted were as high as 19 percent in some counties in Florida, and these discrepancies were widely attributed to the ballot formats, the handling of ballots, and machine operations. For those involved in the administration of elections the recount was particularly troubling. Over the last 40 years the United States has introduced new technologies, especially punch card and optically scanned ballots, to improve vote tabulations.

The SAVE System: Secure Architecture for Voting Electronically

Working Paper No.: 
12
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Jonathan Goler
MIT
Ted Selker
Existing technology is capable of yielding secure, reliable, and auditable voting systems. This system outlines an architecture 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.

Certification and Voting Software: Position Statement

Working Paper No.: 
15
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Ted Selker
MIT
Computers are important in every aspect of modern life. Automative tabulating machines are designed to be the most consistent and reliable counting approach invented. Still, questions of reliability, security and auditability persist. Ken Thompson and others have shown that, like other carelessly composed processes, computer programs can harbor potentially criminal activity. To be useful for voting, software must simplify and improve the ability to record and report intentions.

An N-Version Electronic Voting System

Working Paper No.: 
17
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Soyini D. Liburd
MIT
The ballot battles of the 2000 US Presidential Election clearly indicate that existing voting technologies and processes are not sufficient to guarantee that every eligible voter is granted their right to vote and implicitly to have that vote counted, as per the fifteenth, nineteenth, twenty fourth and twenty sixth amendments to the US constitution. Developing a voting system that is secure, correct, reliable and trustworthy is a significant challenge to current technology.

Certification of Voting Software: Position Statement

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Ted Selker
Computers are important in every aspect of modern life. Automative tabulating machines are designed to be the most consistent and reliable counting approach invented. Still, questions of reliability, security and auditability persist. Ken Thompson and others have shown that, like other carelessly composed processes, computer programs can harbor potentially criminal activity. To be useful for voting, software must simplify and improve the ability to record and report intentions.

American Attitudes about Electronic Voting, Results of a National Survey

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Thad E. Hall
This study examines current attitudes of the American electorate toward electronic voting. This issue is critical to understand, given the highly argumentative debate going on among media and political elites on this topic, as well as the movement in many states and localities toward electronic voting systems. If American voters lack confidence in electronic voting systems--or for that matter all the various voting systems they may use in this fall's presidential election--the basic integrity of our democratic system could be in jeopardy.

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

Working Paper No.: 
21
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
Stephen Ansolabehere
R. Michael Alvarez
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.

Orienting Graphical User Interfaces Reduces Errors: The Low Error Voting Interface

Working Paper No.: 
23
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Jonathan Goler
Matt Hockenberry
Ted Selker
This paper demonstrates opportunities for reducing errors eith orienting graphical interfaces for voting. We have built many interfaces to explore opportunities for keeping voters aware of selections they have made and are making. Tests of our best prototypes show that missed races and incorrect selection errors are greatly reduced with orienting graphics. The interface reduces errors significantly while extending the time required to vote.

Who Does Better with a Big Interface? Improving Voting Performance of Reading for Disabled Voters

Working Paper No.: 
24
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Lorin F. Wilde
Jonathan Goler
Ted Selker
This study shows how ballot interfaces variably affect the voting performance of people with different abilities. An interface with all information viewable simultaneously might either help orient or overwhelm a voter, depending on he/her skill-set. Voters with diagnosed reading disabilities performed significantly better on full-faced voting machines than those who demonstrated a high likelihood of similar, but undiagnosed, disabilities. In contrast, the diagnosed group performed worse than others when using standard-sized Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems.

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