Convenience Voting

VOTER CONFIDENCE IN CONTEXT AND THE EFFECT OF WINNING

Working Paper No.: 
68
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Thad E. Hall
A number of recent studies examine how confident voters are that their ballots are counted as intended in U.S. federal elections from 2000 to 2004. One consistent finding of these studies is that, relative to Democrats, Republican voters tend to be more confident that their ballots are counted correctly. However, it is also the case that in terms of the national outcomes of the 2000 and 2004 elections, Republicans were victorious. Additionally, research suggests that in the 2004 election voters who cast a paper ballot are more confident relative to those who vote using

The Likely Consequences of Internet Voting for Political Representation

Author(s): 
Jonathan Nagler
R. Michael Alvarez
Journal: 
Loyola Law Review
pp: 
1115-1153
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
In this Article, Professors R. Michael Alvarez and Jonathan Nagler consider the consequences of Internet voting for political representation. They believe that based on the evidence presented Internet voting is likely to exacerbate the current problem of class-bias in American elections if it is introduced any time in the near future. The authors maintain that previous reforms to ease voting or registration have tended to be taken advantage of by those of higher socio-economic status.

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.

Point, Click, and Vote

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
point_click_vote.jpg

Whether responding to a CNN.com survey or voting for the NFL All-Pro team, computer users are becoming more and more comfortable with Internet polls. Computer use in the United States continues to grow—more than half of all American households now have a personal computer. The next question, then, becomes obvious. Should Americans be able to use the Internet in the most important polls of all?

Some advocates of Internet voting argue that Americans are well suited to casting their ballots online in political elections. They are eager to make use of new technology, and they have relatively broad access to the Internet. Voting would become easier for people stuck at home, at the office, or on the road. Internet voting might encourage greater political participation among young adults, a group that stays away from the polling place in droves. It would hold special appeal for military personnel overseas, whose ability to vote is a growing concern. There are serious concerns, however, regarding computer security and voter fraud, unequal Internet access across socioeconomic lines (the "digital divide"), and the civic consequences of moving elections away from schools and other polling places and into private homes and offices. After all, showing up to vote is the most public civic activity many Americans engage in, and it is often their only overt participation in the democratic process.

In Point, Click, and Vote, voting experts Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall make a strong case for greater experimentation with Internet voting. In their words, "There is no way to know whether any argument regarding Internet voting is accurate unless real Internet voting systems are tested, and they should be tested in small-scale, scientific trials so that their successes and failures can be evaluated." In other words, you never know until you try, and it's time to try harder.

The authors offer a realistic plan for putting pilot remote Internet voting programs into effect nationwide. Such programs would allow U.S. voters in selected areas to cast their ballots over any Internet connection; they would not even need to leave home. If these pilot programs are successful, the next step is to consider how they might be implemented on a larger scale in future elections.

Electronic Elections

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
electronic_elections.jpg

Since the 2000 presidential election, the United States has been embroiled in debates about electronic voting. Critics say the new technologies invite tampering and fraud. Advocates say they enhance the accuracy of vote counts and make casting ballots easier--and ultimately foster greater political participation. Electronic Elections cuts through the media spin to assess the advantages and risks associated with different ways of casting ballots--and shows how e-voting can be the future of American democracy.

Elections by nature are fraught with risk. Michael Alvarez and Thad Hall fully examine the range of past methods and the new technologies that have been created to try to minimize risk and accurately reflect the will of voters. Drawing upon a wealth of new data on how different kinds of electronic voting machines have performed in recent elections nationwide, they evaluate the security issues that have been the subject of so much media attention, and examine the impacts the new computer-based solutions is having on voter participation. Alvarez and Hall explain why the benefits of e-voting can outweigh the challenges, and they argue that media coverage of the new technologies has emphasized their problems while virtually ignoring their enormous potential for empowering more citizens to vote. The authors also offer ways to improve voting technologies and to develop more effective means of implementing and evaluating these systems.

Electronic Elections makes a case for how e-voting can work in the United States, showing why making it work right is essential to the future vibrancy of the democratic process.

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