Latest Research from the VTP

Report to the Alexandria Board of Elections

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
During the 2002 general election, the Alexandria Board of Elections tested the Hart Intercivic eSlate voting system as a first step in determining how well an electronic voting system would work in the City of Alexandria. There are three key findings from the evaluation of this system.
  1. Alexandria voters are comfortable and satisfied with the current voting system that they have. Voters like the optical scan system and use it quite adeptly.

Voting Technology and Uncounted Votes in the United States

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
Stephen Ansolabehere
We examine the relative performance of voting technologies by studying presidential, gubernatorial, and senatorial election returns across hundreds of counties in hte United States from 1988 to 2000. Relying on a fixed effects regression applied to an unbalanced panel of counties, we find that in presidential elections, traditional paper ballots produce the lowest rates of uncounted votes (i.e. "residual votes"), followed by optically scanned ballots, mechanical lever machines, direct register electronic machines (DREs), and punch cards.

Voting in Massachusetts

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
Stephen Ansolabehere
Massachusetts avoided the most egregious shortcomings that dogged many other states in the 2000 presidential election. Perhaps for that reason, the Bay State has lagged behind most of the rest of the nation in reforming antiquated election practices and upgrading antiquated election technologies that confuse and frustrate voters. The result is tens of thousands of "lost votes" each statewide election--votes that could be recovered by adopting a range of sweeping and incremental reforms.

Are Americans Confident Their Ballots Are Counted

Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Thad E. Hall
Morgan Llewellyn
Journal: 
Journal of Politics
pp: 
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Expanding the large literature which investigates the characteristics of citizen and voter trust in government we analyze the heretofore neglected topic of voter trust in the electoral process. In this paper, we present results from three national surveys in which we asked voters the confidence they have that their vote for president in the 2000 or 2004 election was recorded as intended.

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.

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