Date Published: 2003-01-01
Voting Technology Project
This report was written by MIT members of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, at the invitation and through the generous funding of the Boston Foundation. It builds on research into voting reform nationwide that we had previously published in 2001 in the report Voting: What Is/What Could Be, which was supported through the generosity of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
We have characterized current practices in Massachusetts using a variety of sources. Massachusetts election law is of course publicly available. The Massachusetts Secretary of State biennially publishes Massachusetts Election Statistics (Public Document 43), which was the source of election return information. We received information about the 2002 election returns, along with information about town-by-town usage of election technology, directly from the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s Office. We also gathered invaluable insights about the conduct of elections in Massachusetts through the generous advice of election professionals in the Boston metropolitan area.
The report that follows is organized around a series of 24 recommendations. These recommendations grow out of the experience gained over the past two years by the Voting Technology Project, as we have talked to election officials, voting technology vendors, and citizen groups throughout the country. These recommendations are consistent with the “best practices” that have been highlighted in a series of conferences and reports, at the national and state level, that have appeared over the past two years. Currently the most comprehensive accounting of election reform nationwide is available through the Election Reform Information Project and its indispensable web site, www.electionline.com.
The research for this report was begun before the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) was passed in October 2002 and completed in mid-April 2003. Since then, election reform has progressed in Massachusetts and nationwide. Most importantly, a steering committee to produce a Massachusetts state plan under HAVA has been appointed, chaired by Secretary of State William Galvin. That committee began meeting in late spring 2003, under a deadline to produce a state plan in September 2003. In another important development, the first electronic touch screen voting device has been certified for use in Massachusetts.
Charles Stewart III, MIT Professor of Political Science, was primarily responsible for research into voting
technologies and for drafting this report. All questions concerning this report should be directed to Professor Stewart. Julie Brogan, Esq., Project Coordinator of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, was primarily responsible for research into Massachusetts election laws and regulations and into issues pertaining to polling place practices.