Usability in Civic Life: Voting and Usability

Voting System Security and Voter Verification

One of the most hotly debated questions in voting systems is whether computer systems can be trusted to  collect, count and report votes. Although e-voting systems are often compared to bank ATM machines, there is an important security difference: the secret ballot means that normal audit trails and other ways of creating trust in a computer system do not work for a voting system. Instead, many have proposed that e-voting machines include a means for the voter to confirm that their vote is cast as intended -- verified voting.

Voting Security Projects and Volunteer Opportunities

  • Verified Voting - a non-profit organization working to ensure voter verification of electronic ballots.
  • ACCURATE: A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable, and Transparent Elections - a project funding by the NSF has been active in research and security evaluations.
  • EFF E-Voting - The Electronic Freedom Foundation has been involved in litigation over voting systems, with links available to documents and commentary. Their web site includes a set of info sheets describing operations and security features of widely used  voting systems.
  • CSPR Election Incident Reporting System - The system will enable activists to be immediately informed of election problems and seek prompt action; enable journalists to be put in touch with real voters who have real problems; and enable use of the data beyond Election Day, for reports that may be useful, for example, for post-election litigation. (Funded with a grant from the Quixote Foundation)
  • The Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project
    This project was established to evaluate the current state of reliability and uniformity of voting systems and propose guidelines and requirements. They sponsored a conference March 29-31, 2000 which produced "A Preliminary Assessment of the Reliability of Existing Voting Equipment."

Key Analysis Reports on Electronic Voting Systems

Voting Security Articles and Web Sites

Internet Voting


Press Reports


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