The electoral system in the United States is structurally complex, intensified by a variety of electoral, political, and technological considerations. Recent local and global events, coupled with an aging national electoral infrastructure, test voter accessibility and security. These developments increase planning and management uncertainty for local electoral jurisdictions. A wide range of observers have noted that many digital systems currently in use were designed and engineered in the 1990s and have surpassed their expected lifespans. Recent research has identified four factors as critical to the success of voting systems in the U.S.: accuracy, usability, accessibility, and security. Developing effective voting processes that address these factors should be the result of innovative collaborations with researchers, election officials, voters, and technology developers. This research project explores how electoral systems can be designed to meet the all of the above factors, in a way that results in inclusive, cost-effective and secure elections.
US Voting Systems Security Working Paper: “Revisioning the U.S. Elections Process: Voting Security and Election Integrity”
Much has been written in the last few years about the security of U.S. voting systems. Perceptions of, and certainty in, the security of voting systems have significant impact on public confidence in electoral system integrity. This paper focuses on various dimensions of security in a comprehensive manner, while taking into consideration other key system objectives such as accessibility, usability and transparency. Ongoing public conversations about an ideal approach to protecting the integrity of elections have tended to lack a general reference model or even a commonly agreed upon set of security objectives. Basic concepts lack shared meanings and different players seem to have different standards to benchmark current systems. This working paper 1) identifies key security policy challenges facing elections officials and 2) proposes comprehensive General Model for Voting Security (GMVS) as part of an Independent Assessment Framework (IAF) that could address many of these concerns. The GVMS is designed to be a comprehensive reference to evaluate election integrity. It outlines a set of requirements that are described as “not an end unto themselves, but they are requirements that must be met to protect the primary voting system requirements in an adversarial model.” It basically outlines the aspects that a system must support in order to maximize its security. The proposed IAF takes into consideration the nature of the electoral process in the U.S., including various regulations, complexity of process, cost of certification, the slow pace of innovation and pressure on election officials.
US Voting Systems Security Executive Summary (June 2019)
Voting Security Working Paper (June 2019)
Policy Study: Accessibility and the Voting Landscape
Nationally, there is not a standard method of voting. Beyond the rise of early, absentee, and mail voting, the ways Americans vote on Election Day have changed dramatically over the past generation. Aside from direct digital voting, many voters use paper ballots that are later read by machines, intended to ensure count accuracy as election officials can verify the ballot themselves. In addition, some election officials have taken to designing and implementing their own systems, often because they do not view the current market offerings as tailored to their needs. There is a shortfall in research exploring the relationship between improving voting usability and accessibility, while preventing errors, promoting stakeholder investment, and reducing costs long-term. As more policymakers, election officials and citizens come to understand how behavioral science can help improve voting system security and reliability, so will the need for appropriate and timely practices. In an effort to address some of these gaps, CACP researchers are studying current practices and planning efforts at electoral jurisdictions across the U.S. We expect to get a better sense of what is working, what barriers exist and what potential policy options might be developed. For further information on this project contact: Paul M.A. Baker, Ph.D., [firstname.lastname@example.org]
U.S. Elections and Voting Landscape Study Highlights/Observations (November 2018)
Drawing on a stratified list of representative jurisdictions, 10 interviews were conducted with election officials. The study paper presents highlights of the interviews followed by a set of overall observations and suggestions for more in-depth research which can inform general understanding of the current, highly changing, election landscape.
Getting Out the Vote: Assessing Technological, Social and Process Barriers to (e)Voting for People with Disabilities
Baker, P.M.A., Moon, N., Roy, R. (2005).
Drawing on a stratified list of representative jurisdictions, 10 interviews were conducted with election officials. The study paper presents highlights of the interviews followed by a set of overall observations and suggestions for more in-depth research which can inform general understanding of the current, highly changing, election landscape. Baker, P.M.A., Moon, N., Roy, R. (2005). Getting Out the Vote: Assessing Technological, Social and Process Barriers to (e)Voting for People with Disabilities. Presented at The Twenty-Seventh Annual APPAM Research Conference, 3-5 November, 2005, Washington, D.C.
This paper presents some of the preliminary findings of a pilot survey of voter satisfaction with the voting process, using manual and electronic voting and including voters with and without disabilities, to help assess and identify potential issues, barriers and opportunities that may impede the voting process for people with disabilities. Previous research: Baker, P.M.A., Roy, R., and Moon, N.W. (2005) “Getting Out the Vote: Assessing Technological, Social and Process Barriers to (e)Voting for People with Disabilities”