Building a Better Voting Machine

– I’ve posted a number of articles on this subject here, here, here, here, here, and here.   I’m glad to see that computer scientists are getting involved in a discussion of what constitutes a reasonable electronic voting machine.


It’s been six years since the Florida presidential fiasco launched a flurry of spending around the country to replace antiquated punch-card and lever voting machines with expensive new electronic touch-screen machines. Yet new controversies over the security of e-voting machines continue to crop up, making it clear that the new machines are just as problematic as the ones they replaced.

Why can’t the voting machine companies get it right?

With election season upon us, Wired News spoke with two of the top computer scientists in the field, UC Berkeley’s David Wagner and Princeton’s Ed Felten, and came up with a wish list of features we would include in a voting machine, if we were asked to create one.

These recommendations can’t guarantee clean results on their own. Voting machines, no matter how secure, are no remedy for poor election procedures and ill-conceived election laws. So our system would include thorough auditing and verification capabilities and require faithful adherence to good election practices, as wells as topnotch usability and security features.


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