Latest Research from the VTP

American Confidence in Electronic Voting and Ballot Counting: A Pre-Election Update

Date Published: 
11/03/2008
Author(s): 
Morgan Llewellyn
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
This study examines the confidence that voters have that their ballot was counted accurately in 2004 and the attitudes of the American public toward electronic voting. As many states and localities move to new—and often electronic—voting systems, understanding public confidence and public attitudes is critical for policy makers. This study includes several key findings:

Research Note on Footnote 24 of the 6th Circuit Hunter Decision

Working Paper No.: 
101
Date Published: 
02/03/2011
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
MIT
The decision issued by the three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the matter of Hunter v. Hamilton County Board of Elections2 contains a very interesting analysis of problems with Ohio’s law about counting provisional ballots when they are cast in “the right church, wrong pew” (RCWP). On the whole, the appeals court opinion contains a strong argument against the Draconian effects of the Ohio law, which allows — indeed, mandates — disenfranchisement of voters who have followed the instructions of a poll worker.

The Quality of Voter Registration Records: A State-by-State Analysis

Date Published: 
07/14/2010
Author(s): 
Eitan Hersh
Harvard University
Steve Ansolabehere
Voter registration systems in the United States have long been viewed as the area of election administration most in need of improvement. Problems in this system create barriers to voting for many Americans, but they also make it di

Reflections on the VTP's contributions to science, policymaking and education

Working Paper No.: 
100
Date Published: 
09/01/2010
Author(s): 
Charles Stewart III
MIT
R. Michael Alvarez
In the immediate wake of the 2000 presidential election, the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project was initiated. The initial and primary concern of the VTP at that moment was to understand the problems that arose in the 2000 American presidential election, in particular with regards to voting technologies, and to develop scientifically-based proposals for reforms and perhaps even to propose new voting technologies.

Election Fraud: Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation

Date Published: 
05/05/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Susan Hyde
election_fraud.jpg

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.

Precinct Voting Denial of Service

Date Published: 
10/05/2005
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
This is a type of threat that has a long history in electoral politics, and can take many forms.1 The basic approach is that a perpetrator attacks precinct voting, regardless of voting system, on election day in an effort to disrupt the process sufficiently to produce an effective “denial of service” attack. The perpetrator, based on an analysis of past elections returns, would target selected precincts that are highly likely to cast votes in a certain direction.

Who Should Run Elections in the United States

Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Thad E. Hall
Morgan Llewellyn
Journal: 
Policy Studies Journal
pp: 
325-346
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
08/01/2008
Much has been said since the 2000 presidential election regarding the administration of elections in the United States, particularly about how election administrators are selected and to whom they are responsive. Unfortunately, there has been little research on the different administrative structures that are possible and the preferences of Americans regarding these different administrative options.

Voting - What Is, What Could Be

Date Published: 
07/01/2001
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
On December 15, 2000, the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced a collaborative project to develop new voting technology in order "to precent a recurrence of the problems that threatened the 2000 presidential election." The problems in the 2000 election go well beyond voting equipment. This report assesses the magnitude of the problems, their root causes, and how technology can reduce them.

Voting Machines and the Underestimate of the Bush Vote

Date Published: 
12/05/2004
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
  1. A series of claims have been made in recent days alleging that discrepancies between exit poll results and the presidential vote in certain states provides evidence of malfeasance in those states. These claims seem to be concentrated on states using electronic voting systems.
  2. Exit polls predicted a significantly greater vote for Kerry nationwide than the official results confirmed, but there is not any apparent systematic bias when we take this same analysis to the state level.

Assessing Electoral Performance in New Mexico Using an Ecosystem

Date Published: 
04/26/2010
Author(s): 
Lonna Rae Atkeson
University of New Mexico
R. Michael Alvarez
Election administration in New Mexico has been closely scrutinized since the close 2000 presidential election, which was decided by a mere 316 votes. In that election, questions arose about the adequacy of New Mexico’s voting systems and the efficiency of the election administration process.1 In 2002 the passage of the Help America Vote Act sent federal resources to state agencies to purchase new equipment. In New Mexico some of this money was passed on to county clerks, many of who purchased new electronic voting equipment.

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