Reports

Residual Votes Attributable to Technology: An Assessment of the Reliability of Existing Voting Technologies

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
This report examines the use of voting equipment and the incidence of spoiled and unmarked ballots associated with that equipment. We call the rate of spoiled and unmarked ballots the residual vote rate. The residual vote rate is not a pure measure of voter error. If voting technologies are not producing voter mistakes or confusion, the residual vote rate should be unrelated to equipment. The study covers election results from over 2700 counties and municipalities in the 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2000 presidential elections.

Who does better with a big interface? Improving Voting Performance of Reading Disabled Voters

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Lorin F. Wilde
Jonathan A. 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 his/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.

Same Day Voter Registration in North Carolina

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Jonathan Nagler
R. Michael Alvarez
We have analyzed the likely impact on voter turnout should North Carolina adopt same day registration. Under the system proposed in North Carolina, eligible voters who miss the 25 day registration deadline may take advantage of same day registration during a period that lasts 19 days to three days prior to the election. During this time, voters may go to designated locations, and with the appropriate documentation, both register and vote.

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.

Challenges Facing the American Electoral System: Research Priorities for the Social Sciences

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Michael Traugott
Samuel Popkin
Nelson W. Polsby
This report summarizes the activities and findings of the National Research Commission on Elections and Voting, organized in October, 2004 by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to serve as a scholarly resource for nonpartisan insight into challenges facing the American electoral process.

Towards Better Voting Technology Research: Building a Research-Industry Dialogue

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Voting Technology Project
On March 13, 2007, the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project convened a Voting Systems Vendor Workshop on the Caltech campus involving a small group of academics and representatives from the voting systems industry. As an outcome of this one-day event, we present the following report and recommendations. This event was supported by grants from The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. We thank them for their support of our ongoing efforts.

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.

Public Attitudes About Election Governance

Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
No abstract available.

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:

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.

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