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Electronic voting

Electronic voting

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Electronic voting is a term encompassing several different types of voting
Voting
Voting is a method for a group such as a meeting or an electorate to make a decision or express an opinion—often following discussions, debates, or election campaigns. It is often found in democracies and republics.- Reasons for voting :...

, embracing both electronic means of casting a vote and electronic means of counting votes.

Electronic voting technology can include punched card
Punched card
A punched card, punch card, IBM card, or Hollerith card is a piece of stiff paper that contains digital information represented by the presence or absence of holes in predefined positions...

s, optical scan voting system
Optical scan voting system
An optical scan voting system is an electronic voting system and uses an optical scanner to read marked paper ballots and tally the results.-History:...

s and specialized voting kiosks (including self-contained direct-recording electronic voting systems, or DRE). It can also involve transmission of ballot
Ballot
A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the...

s and votes via telephones, private computer network
Computer network
A computer network, often simply referred to as a network, is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information....

s, or the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

.

In general, two main types of e-Voting can be identified:
  • e-voting which is physically supervised by representatives of governmental or independent electoral authorities (e.g. electronic voting machines located at polling stations);
  • remote e-Voting where voting is performed within the voter's sole influence, and is not physically supervised by representatives of governmental authorities (e.g. voting from one's personal computer,mobile phone,television via the internet (i-voting).


Electronic voting technology can speed the counting of ballots and can provide improved accessibility
Accessibility
Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or entity...

 for disabled voters. However, there has been contention, especially in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, that electronic voting, especially DRE voting, could facilitate electoral fraud
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

.

Overview


Electronic voting systems for electorates have been in use since the 1960s when punched card systems debuted. Their first widespread use was in the USA where 7 counties switched to this method for the 1964 presidential election. The newer optical scan voting system
Optical scan voting system
An optical scan voting system is an electronic voting system and uses an optical scanner to read marked paper ballots and tally the results.-History:...

s allow a computer to count a voter's mark on a ballot. DRE voting machine
DRE voting machine
A direct-recording electronic voting machine records votes by means of a ballot display provided with mechanical or electro-optical components that can be activated by the voter ; that processes data by means of a computer program; and that records voting data and ballot images in memory components...

s which collect and tabulate votes in a single machine, are used by all voters in all elections in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, and also on a large scale in Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. They have been used on a large scale in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 but have been decommissioned after public concerns. Internet voting systems have gained popularity and have been used for government elections and referendums in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 as well as municipal elections in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and party primary elections in the United States and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

There are also hybrid systems that include an electronic ballot marking device (usually a touch screen system similar to a DRE) or other assistive technology
Assistive technology
Assistive technology or adaptive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them...

 to print a voter verified paper audit trail
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail or Verified Paper Record is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored...

, then use a separate machine for electronic tabulation.

Paper-based electronic voting system


Sometimes called a "document ballot voting system", paper-based voting systems originated as a system where votes are cast and counted by hand, using paper ballots. With the advent of electronic tabulation came systems where paper cards or sheets could be marked by hand, but counted electronically. These systems included punched card voting, marksense and later digital pen voting systems.

Most recently, these systems can include an Electronic Ballot Marker (EBM), that allow voters to make their selections using an electronic input device, usually a touch screen system similar to a DRE. Systems including a ballot marking device can incorporate different forms of assistive technology
Assistive technology
Assistive technology or adaptive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them...

.

Direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting system



A direct-recording electronic (DRE) voting machine
Voting machine
Voting machines are the total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment , that is used to define ballots; to cast and count votes; to report or display election results; and to maintain and produce any audit trail information...

 records votes by means of a ballot
Ballot
A ballot is a device used to record choices made by voters. Each voter uses one ballot, and ballots are not shared. In the simplest elections, a ballot may be a simple scrap of paper on which each voter writes in the name of a candidate, but governmental elections use pre-printed to protect the...

 display provided with mechanical or electro-optical components that can be activated by the voter (typically buttons or a touchscreen
Touchscreen
A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area. The term generally refers to touching the display of the device with a finger or hand. Touchscreens can also sense other passive objects, such as a stylus...

); that processes data with computer software; and that records voting data and ballot images in memory components
Computer memory
In computing, memory refers to the physical devices used to store programs or data on a temporary or permanent basis for use in a computer or other digital electronic device. The term primary memory is used for the information in physical systems which are fast In computing, memory refers to the...

. After the election it produces a tabulation of the voting data stored in a removable memory component and as printed copy. The system may also provide a means for transmitting individual ballots or vote totals to a central location for consolidating and reporting results from precincts at the central location. These systems use a precinct count method that tabulates ballots at the polling place. They typically tabulate ballots as they are cast and print the results after the close of polling.

In 1996, after tests conducted on more than 50 municipalities, the Brazilian Electoral Justice has launched their "voting machine". Since 2000, all Brazilian voters are able to use the electronic ballot boxes to choose their candidates. In 2010 presidential election, which had more than 135 million voters, the result was defined 75 minutes after the end of voting. The electronic ballot box is made up of two micro-terminals (one located in the voting cabin and the other with the voting board representative) which are connected by a 5-meter cable. Externally, the micro-terminals have only a numerical keyboard, which does not accept any command executed by the simultaneous pressure of more than one key. In case of power failure, the internal battery provides the energy or it can be connected to an automotive battery. The Brazilian electronic ballot box serves today as a model for other countries.

In 2002, in the United States, the Help America Vote Act
Help America Vote Act
The Help America Vote Act , or HAVA, is a United States federal law which passed in the House 357-48 and 92-2 in the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush on October 29, 2002. Drafted in reaction to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S...

 mandated that one handicapped accessible voting system be provided per polling place, which most jurisdictions have chosen to satisfy with the use of DRE voting machines, some switching entirely over to DRE. In 2004, 28.9% of the registered voters in the United States used some type of direct recording electronic voting system , up from 7.7% in 1996.

In 2004, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 had adopted Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for its elections to the Parliament with 380 million voters had cast their ballots using more than a million voting machines. The Indian EVMs are designed and developed by two Government Owned Defense Equipment Manufacturing Units, Bharat Electronics Limited
Bharat Electronics Limited
Bharat Electronics Limited is a state-owned electronics company with about nine factories, and few regional offices in India. It is owned by the Indian Government & primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces.BEL is one of the eight PSUs under Ministry of...

 (BEL) and Electronics Corporation of India Limited
Electronics Corporation of India
Electronics Corporation of India Limited is a Government of India Enterprise under Department of Atomic Energy , established in 1967 by Dr. A. S. Rao in Hyderabad, to create a strong indigenous base in Electronics. ECIL is presently a multi-product, multi disciplinary organization with focus on...

 (ECIL). Both systems are identical, and are developed to the specifications of Election Commission of India. The System is a set of two devices running on 6V batteries. One device, the Voting Unit is used by the Voter, and another device called the Control Unit is operated by the Electoral Officer. Both units are connected by a 5 meter cable. The Voting unit has a Blue Button for every candidate, the unit can hold 16 candidates, but up to 4 units can be chained, to accommodate 64 candidates. The Control Units has Three buttons on the surface, namely, one button to release a single vote, one button to see the total number of vote cast till now, and one button to close the election process. The result button is hidden and sealed, It cannot be pressed unless the Close button is already pressed.

Public network DRE voting system


A public network DRE voting system is an election system that uses electronic ballots and transmits vote data from the polling place to another location over a public network. Vote data may be transmitted as individual ballots as they are cast, periodically as batches of ballots throughout the election day, or as one batch at the close of voting. This includes Internet voting as well as telephone voting.

Public network DRE voting system can utilize either precinct count or central count method. The central count method tabulates ballots from multiple precincts at a central location.

Internet voting can use remote locations (voting from any Internet capable computer) or can use traditional polling locations with voting booths consisting of Internet connected voting systems.

Corporations and organizations routinely use Internet voting to elect officers and Board members and for other proxy elections. Internet voting systems have been used privately in many modern nations and publicly in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

. In Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, where it is already an established part of local referendums, voters get their passwords to access the ballot through the postal service. Most voters in Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 can cast their vote in local and parliamentary elections, if they want to, via the Internet, as most of those on the electoral roll have access to an e-voting system, the largest run by any European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 country. It has been made possible because most Estonians carry a national identity card equipped with a computer-readable microchip and it is these cards which they use to get access to the online ballot. All a voter needs is a computer, an electronic card reader, their ID card and its PIN, and they can vote from anywhere in the world. Estonian e-votes can only be cast during the days of advance voting. On election day itself people have to go to polling stations and fill in a paper ballot.

Analysis of electronic voting



Electronic voting systems may offer advantages compared to other voting techniques. An electronic voting system can be involved in any one of a number of steps in the setup, distributing, voting, collecting, and counting of ballots, and thus may or may not introduce advantages into any of these steps. Potential disadvantages exist as well including the potential for flaws or weakness in any electronic component.

Charles Stewart of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 estimates that 1 million more ballots were counted in the 2004 USA presidential election than in 2000 because electronic voting machines detected votes that paper-based machines would have missed.

In May 2004 the U.S. Government Accountability Office
Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress. It is located in the legislative branch of the United States government.-History:...

 released a report titled "Electronic Voting Offers Opportunities and Presents Challenges", analyzing both the benefits and concerns created by electronic voting. A second report was released in September 2005 detailing some of the concerns with electronic voting, and ongoing improvements, titled "Federal Efforts to Improve Security and Reliability of Electronic Voting Systems Are Under Way, but Key Activities Need to Be Completed".

It has been demonstrated that as voting systems become more complex and include software, different methods of election fraud become possible. Others also challenge the use of electronic voting from a theoretical point of view, arguing that humans are not equipped for verifying operations occurring within an electronic machine and that because people cannot verify these operations, the operations cannot be trusted. Furthermore, some computing experts have argued for the broader notion that people cannot trust any programming they did not author.

Under a secret ballot system, there is no known input, nor any expected output with which to compare electoral results. Hence, electronic electoral results and thus the accuracy, honesty and security of the entire electronic system cannot be verified by humans.

Critics of electronic voting, including security analyst Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier is an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on general security topics, computer security and cryptography, and is the founder and chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions, formerly Counterpane Internet...

, note that "computer security experts are unanimous on what to do (some voting experts disagree, but it is the computer security experts who need to be listened to; the problems here are with the computer, not with the fact that the computer is being used in a voting application)...DRE machines must have a voter-verifiable paper audit trails... Software used on DRE machines must be open to public scrutiny" to ensure the accuracy of the voting system. Verifiable ballots are necessary because computers can and do malfunction, and because voting machines can be compromised.

Electronic ballots


Electronic voting systems may use electronic ballots to store votes in computer memory
Computer memory
In computing, memory refers to the physical devices used to store programs or data on a temporary or permanent basis for use in a computer or other digital electronic device. The term primary memory is used for the information in physical systems which are fast In computing, memory refers to the...

. Systems which use them exclusively are called DRE voting systems. When electronic ballots are used there is no risk of exhausting the supply of ballots. Additionally, these electronic ballots remove the need for printing of paper ballots, a significant cost. When administering elections in which ballots are offered in multiple languages (in some areas of the United States, public elections are required by the National Voting Rights Act of 1965
Voting Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S....

), electronic ballots can be programmed to provide ballots in multiple languages for a single machine. The advantage with respect to ballots in different languages appears to be unique to electronic voting. For example, King County, Washington
King County, Washington
King County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. The population in the 2010 census was 1,931,249. King is the most populous county in Washington, and the 14th most populous in the United States....

's demographics require them under U.S. federal election law to provide ballot access in Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

. With any type of paper ballot, the county has to decide how many Chinese-language ballots to print, how many to make available at each polling place, etc. Any strategy that can assure that Chinese-language ballots will be available at all polling places is certain, at the very least, to result in a significant number of wasted ballots. (The situation with lever machines would be even worse than with paper: the only apparent way to reliably meet the need would be to set up a Chinese-language lever machine at each polling place, few of which would be used at all.)

Critics argue the need for extra ballots in any language can be mitigated by providing a process to print ballots at voting locations. They argue further, the cost of software validation, compiler trust validation, installation validation, delivery validation and validation of other steps related to electronic voting is complex and expensive, thus electronic ballots are not guaranteed to be less costly than printed ballots.

Accessibility


Electronic voting machines can be made fully accessible for persons with disabilities. Punched card and optical scan machines are not fully accessible for the blind or visually impaired, and lever machines can be difficult for voters with limited mobility and strength. Electronic machines can use headphones, sip and puff
Sip-and-puff
Sip-and-Puff or Sip 'n' Puff ' technology is a method used to send signals to a device using air pressure by "sipping" or "puffing" on a straw, tube or "wand." It is primarily used by people who do not have the use of their hands...

, foot pedals, joy sticks and other adaptive technology to provide the necessary accessibility
Accessibility
Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or entity...

.

Organizations such as the Verified Voting Foundation have criticized the accessibility of electronic voting machines and advocate alternatives. Some disabled voters (including the visually impaired) could use a tactile ballot, a ballot system using physical markers to indicate where a mark should be made, to vote a secret paper ballot. These ballots can be designed identically to those used by other voters. However, other disabled voters (including voters with dexterity disabilities) could be unable to use these ballots.

Cryptographic verification


Electronic voting systems can offer solutions that allow voters to verify their vote is recorded and tabulated with mathematical calculations. These systems can alleviate concerns of incorrectly recorded votes.

One feature to mitigate such concerns could be to allow a voter to prove how they voted, with some form of electronic receipt, signed by the voting authority using digital signatures. This feature can conclusively prove the accuracy of the tally, but any verification system that cannot guarantee the anonymity of voter's choice, can enable voter intimidation or vote selling.

Some cryptographic solutions aim to allow the voter to verify their vote personally, but not to a third party. One such way would be to provide the voter with a digitally signed receipt of their vote as well as receipts of other randomly selected votes. This would allow only the voter to identify their vote, but not be able to prove their vote to anyone else. Furthermore, each vote could be tagged with a randomly generated voting session id, which would allow the voter to check that the vote was recorded correctly in a public audit trail of the ballot.

Voter intent


Electronic voting machines are able to provide immediate feedback to the voter detecting such possible problems as undervoting
Undervote
An undervote occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter in a contest is less thanthe maximum number allowed for that contest or when no selection is made for a singlechoice contest....

 and overvoting
Overvote
An overvote occurs when one votes for more than the maximum number of selections allowed in a contest. The result is a spoilt vote which is not included in the final tally....

 which may result in a spoiled ballot. This immediate feedback can be helpful in successfully determining voter intent.

Transparency


It has been alleged by groups such as the UK-based Open Rights Group
Open Rights Group
The Open Rights Group is a UK-based organisation that works to preserve digital rights and freedoms by campaigning on digital rights issues, acting as a media clearinghouse service putting journalists in touch with experts, and by fostering a community of grassroots activists...

 that a lack of testing, inadequate audit procedures, and insufficient attention given to system or process design with electronic voting leaves "elections open to error and fraud
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

".

In 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
Federal Constitutional Court of Germany
The Federal Constitutional Court is a special court established by the Grundgesetz, the German basic law...

 found that when using voting machines the "verification of the result must be possible by the citizen reliably and without any specialist knowledge of the subject." The DRE
DRE voting machine
A direct-recording electronic voting machine records votes by means of a ballot display provided with mechanical or electro-optical components that can be activated by the voter ; that processes data by means of a computer program; and that records voting data and ballot images in memory components...

 Nedap-computers used till then did not fulfill that requirement. The decision did not ban electronic voting as such, but requires all essential steps in elections to be subject to public examinability.

Audit trails and auditing


A fundamental challenge with any voting machine
Voting machine
Voting machines are the total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment , that is used to define ballots; to cast and count votes; to report or display election results; and to maintain and produce any audit trail information...

 is assuring the votes were recorded as cast and tabulated as recorded. Non-document ballot voting systems can have a greater burden of proof. This is often solved with an independently auditable system, sometimes called an Independent Verification, that can also be used in recounts or audits. These systems can include the ability for voters to verify how their votes were cast or further to verify how their votes were tabulated.

A discussion draft argued by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology , known between 1901 and 1988 as the National Bureau of Standards , is a measurement standards laboratory, otherwise known as a National Metrological Institute , which is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce...

 (NIST) states, "Simply put, the DRE architecture’s inability to provide for independent audits of its electronic records makes it a poor choice for an environment in which detecting errors and fraud is important." The report does not represent the official position of NIST, and misinterpretations of the report has led NIST to explain that "Some statements in the report have been misinterpreted. The draft report includes statements from election officials, voting system vendors, computer scientists and other experts in the field about what is potentially possible in terms of attacks on DREs. However, these statements are not report conclusions."

Various technologies can be used to assure voters that their vote was cast correctly, detect possible fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the original machine. Some systems include technologies such as cryptography (visual or mathematical), paper (kept by the voter or only verified), audio verification, and dual recording or witness systems (other than with paper).

Dr. Rebecca Mercuri
Rebecca Mercuri
Dr. Rebecca Mercuri, Ph.D is an expert in computer security, especially in electronic voting where she has been researching, writing about, and testifying since 1989...

, the creator of the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail
Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail or Verified Paper Record is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored...

 (VVPAT) concept (as described in her Ph.D. dissertation in October 2000 on the basic voter verifiable ballot system), proposes to answer the auditability question by having the voting machine print a paper ballot or other paper facsimile that can be visually verified by the voter before being entered into a secure location. Subsequently, this is sometimes referred to as the "Mercuri method
Mercuri method
The "Mercuri method" is another name for a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail—a modification to DRE voting machines that provides for a physical audit record that may be used to verify the electronic vote count. Because these machines record votes internally, in computer software, vote fraud may...

." To be truly voter-verified, the record itself must be verified by the voter and able to be done without assistance, such as visually or audibly. If the voter must use a bar-code scanner or other electronic device to verify, then the record is not truly voter-verifiable, since it is actually the electronic device that is verifying the record for the voter. VVPAT is the form of Independent Verification most commonly found in elections in the United States
Elections in the United States
The United States has a federal government, with elected officials at the federal , state and local levels. On a national level, the head of state, the President, is elected indirectly by the people, through an Electoral College. In modern times, the electors virtually always vote with the popular...

.

End-to-end auditable voting systems
End-to-end auditable voting systems
End-to-end auditable or end-to-end voter verifiable systems are voting systems with stringent integrity properties and strong tamper-resistance. E2E systems often employ cryptographic methods to craft receipts that allow voters to verify that their votes were not modified, without revealing which...

 can provide the voter with a receipt that can be taken home. This receipt does not allow voters to prove to others how they voted, but it does allow them to verify that their vote is included in the tally, all votes were cast by valid voters, and the results are tabulated correctly. End-to-end (E2E) systems include Punchscan
Punchscan
Punchscan is an optical scan vote counting system invented by cryptographer David Chaum. Punchscan is designed to offer integrity, privacy, and transparency. The system is voter-verifiable, provides an end-to-end audit mechanism, and issues a ballot receipt to each voter...

, ThreeBallot
ThreeBallot
ThreeBallot is a voting protocol invented by Ron Rivest.ThreeBallot is an end-to-end auditable voting system that can in principle be implemented on paper. The goal in its design was to provide some of the benefits of a cryptographic voting system without using cryptography.A vote cannot be both...

 and Prêt à Voter
Prêt à Voter
Prêt à Voter is an E2E voting system devised by Peter Ryan of the University of Luxembourg. It aims to provide guarantees of accuracy of the count and ballot privacy that are independent of software, hardware etc. Assurance of accuracy flows from maximal transparency of the process, consistent with...

. Scantegrity
Scantegrity
Scantegrity is a security enhancement for optical scan voting systems, providing such systems with end-to-end verifiability of election results. It uses confirmation codes to allow a voter to prove to themselves that their ballot is included unmodified in the final tally. The codes are...

 is an add-on that extends current optical scan voting systems with an E2E layer. The city of Takoma Park, Maryland
Takoma Park, Maryland
Takoma Park is a city in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It is a suburb of Washington, D.C., and part of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Founded in 1883 and incorporated in 1890, Takoma Park, informally called "Azalea City," is a Tree City USA and a nuclear-free zone...

 used Scantegrity II for its November, 2009 election.

Systems that allow the voter to prove how they voted are never used in U.S. public elections, and are outlawed by most state constitutions. The primary concerns with this solution are voter intimidation and vote selling.

An audit system can be used in measured random recounts to detect possible malfunction or fraud. With the VVPAT method, the paper ballot is often treated as the official ballot of record. In this scenario, the ballot is primary and the electronic records are used only for an initial count. In any subsequent recounts or challenges, the paper, not the electronic ballot, would be used for tabulation. Whenever a paper record serves as the legal ballot, that system will be subject to the same benefits and concerns as any paper ballot system.

To successfully audit any voting machine, a strict chain of custody
Chain of custody
Chain of custody refers to the chronological documentation or paper trail, showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence, physical or electronic...

 is required.

The solution was first demonstrated (New York City, March 2001) and used (Sacramento, California 2002) by AVANTE International Technology, Inc.. In 2004 Nevada was the first state to successfully implement a DRE voting system that printed an electronic record. The $9.3 million voting system provided by Sequoia Voting Systems
Sequoia Voting Systems
Sequoia Voting Systems was a California-based company that is one of the largest providers of electronic voting systems in the U.S., having offices in Oakland, Denver and New York City. Some of its major competitors were Premier Election Solutions and Election Systems & Software.It was acquired by...

 included more than 2,600 AVC EDGE touchscreen DREs equipped with the VeriVote VVPAT component.
The new systems, implemented under the direction of then Secretary of State Dean Heller
Dean Heller
Dean A. Heller is the junior United States Senator from Nevada and a member of the Republican Party. Heller was appointed by Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to a vacant seat created by the resignation of John Ensign. He was previously a member of the United States House of Representatives,...

 replaced largely punched card voting systems and were chosen after feedback was solicited from the community through town hall meetings and input solicited from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Hardware


Inadequately secured hardware can be subject to a physical tampering. Some critics, such as the group "Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet" ("We do not trust voting machines"), charge that, for instance, foreign hardware
Hardware
Hardware is a general term for equipment such as keys, locks, hinges, latches, handles, wire, chains, plumbing supplies, tools, utensils, cutlery and machine parts. Household hardware is typically sold in hardware stores....

 could be inserted into the machine, or between the user and the central mechanism of the machine itself, using a man in the middle attack technique, and thus even sealing DRE machines may not be sufficient protection. This claim is countered by the position that review and testing procedures can detect fraudulent code or hardware, if such things are present, and that a thorough, verifiable chain of custody
Chain of custody
Chain of custody refers to the chronological documentation or paper trail, showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence, physical or electronic...

 would prevent the insertion of such hardware or software. Security seal
Security seal
Security seals are mechanisms used to seal containers in a way that provides tamper evidence and some level of security. Such seals can help to detect theft or contamination, either accidental and deliberate. Security seals are commonly used to secure vehicles, chemical drums, airline duty free...

s are commonly employed in an attempt to detect tampering, but testing by Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory is the first science and engineering research national laboratory in the United States, receiving this designation on July 1, 1946. It is the largest national laboratory by size and scope in the Midwest...

 and others demonstrates that existing seals can usually be quickly defeated by a trained person using low-tech methods.

Software


Security experts, such as Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier is an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer. He is the author of several books on general security topics, computer security and cryptography, and is the founder and chief technology officer of BT Managed Security Solutions, formerly Counterpane Internet...

, have demanded that voting machine source code
Source code
In computer science, source code is text written using the format and syntax of the programming language that it is being written in. Such a language is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source...

 should be publicly available for inspection. Others have also suggested publishing voting machine software under a free software license as is done in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.

Testing and certification


One method to any error with voting machines is parallel testing, which are conducted on the Election Day with randomly picked machines. The ACM
Association for Computing Machinery
The Association for Computing Machinery is a learned society for computing. It was founded in 1947 as the world's first scientific and educational computing society. Its membership is more than 92,000 as of 2009...

 published a study showing that, to change the outcome of the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, only 2 votes in each precinct would have needed to been changed.

Other


Criticisms can be mitigated by review and testing procedures to detect fraudulent code or hardware, if such things are present, and thorough a verifiable chain of custody
Chain of custody
Chain of custody refers to the chronological documentation or paper trail, showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence, physical or electronic...

 to prevent the insertion of such hardware or software.

Benefits can include reduced tabulation times and an increase of participation (voter turnout
Voter turnout
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot in an election . After increasing for many decades, there has been a trend of decreasing voter turnout in most established democracies since the 1960s...

), particularly through the use of Internet voting.

Those in opposition suggest alternate vote counting system
Vote counting system
There exist various methods through which the ballots cast at an election may be counted, prior to applying a voting system to obtain one or more winners.-Manual counting:Manual counting requires a physical ballot that represents voter intent...

s, citing Switzerland
Voting in Switzerland
Voting in Switzerland is the process by which Swiss citizens make decisions about governance and elect officials. Voting takes place over the weekend, with emphasis being put on the Sunday...

 (as well as many other countries), which uses paper ballots exclusively, suggesting that electronic voting is not the only means to get a rapid count of votes. A country of a little over 7 million people, Switzerland publishes a definitive ballot count in about six hours. In villages, the ballots are even counted manually.

Critics also note that it becomes difficult or impossible to verify the identity of a voter remotely, and that the introduction of public networks become more vulnerable and complex.

It is not yet clear whether the total cost of ownership
Total cost of ownership
Total cost of ownership is a financial estimate whose purpose is to help consumers and enterprise managers determine direct and indirect costs of a product or system...

 with electronic voting is lower than other systems.

Astronauts on orbit


Texas law allows American astronauts who cannot vote in person and are unable to vote via absentee ballot such as those aboard the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

 and Mir
Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

 space station cast their ballots electronically, via email, from orbit since 1997. Ballots sent via secure email to the Johnson Spaceflight Center and then passed on the astronauts' home counties in Texas.

Electronic voting examples



Polling place electronic voting or Internet voting examples have taken place in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Romania, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and the Philippines.

Documented problems

  • A number of problems with voting systems in Florida since the 2000 Presidential election
    United States presidential election, 2000
    The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

    .

  • Fairfax County, Virginia, November 4, 2003. Some voters complained that they would cast their vote for a particular candidate and the indicator of that vote would go off shortly after.

  • The Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems) TSx voting system disenfranchised many voters in Alameda and San Diego Counties during the March 2, 2004 California presidential primary due to non-functional voter card encoders. On April 30 California's secretary of state Kevin Shelley decertified all touch-screen machines and recommended criminal prosecution of Diebold Election Systems. The California Attorney-General decided against criminal prosecution, but subsequently joined a lawsuit against Diebold for fraudulent claims made to election officials. Diebold settled that lawsuit by paying $2.6 million. On February 17, 2006 the California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson
    Bruce McPherson
    Bruce A. McPherson is a California politician who was the 30th California Secretary of State, sworn in March 30, 2005. He was nominated to replace former Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, who resigned on March 4. McPherson, a Republican from Santa Cruz County, served his term as Secretary until...

     then recertified Diebold Election Systems DRE
    DRE voting machine
    A direct-recording electronic voting machine records votes by means of a ballot display provided with mechanical or electro-optical components that can be activated by the voter ; that processes data by means of a computer program; and that records voting data and ballot images in memory components...

     and Optical Scan Voting System.

  • Napa County, California, March 2, 2004, an improperly calibrated marksense scanner overlooked 6,692 absentee ballot
    Absentee ballot
    An absentee ballot is a vote cast by someone who is unable or unwilling to attend the official polling station. Numerous methods have been devised to facilitate this...

     votes.

  • Omesh Saigal, an IIT alumnus and IAS officer blew the top of the Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in front of the whole nation when he successfully demonstrated that the 2009 elections in India when Congress Party of India came back to power might be rigged. This forced the election commission to review the current EVMs and brought bad reputation for Mr. Navin Chawla.

  • On October 30, 2006 the Dutch Minister of the Interior withdrew the license of 1187 voting machines from manufacturer Sdu NV, about 10% of the total number to be used, because it was proven by the General Intelligence and Security Service
    General Intelligence and Security Service
    Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst , formerly known as the BVD is the General Intelligence and Security Service or The Secret service of the Netherlands. The office is in Zoetermeer...

     that one could eavesdrop on voting from up to 40 meters using Van Eck phreaking
    Van Eck phreaking
    Van Eck phreaking is the process of eavesdropping on the contents of a CRT- or LC-Display by detecting its electromagnetic emissions. It is named after Dutch computer researcher Wim van Eck, who in 1985 published the first paper on it, including proof of concept.Phreaking is the process of...

    . National elections are to be held 24 days after this decision. The decision was forced by the Dutch grass roots
    Grass Roots
    Grass Roots is an Australian television series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 2000 and 2003.The series is set around the fictional Arcadia Waters Council near Sydney, and was primarily a satirical look at the machinations of local government...

     organisation Wij vertrouwen stemcomputers niet ("We do not trust voting computers").

  • Problems in the United States general elections, 2006
    United States general elections, 2006
    The 2006 United States midterm elections were held on Tuesday, November 7, 2006. All United States House of Representatives seats and one third of the United States Senate seats were contested in this election, as well as 36 state governorships, many state legislatures, four territorial...

    :
    • During early voting
      Early voting
      Early voting is the process by which electors can vote on a single or series of days prior to an election. Early voting can take place remotely, such as by mail, or in person, usually in designated early voting polling stations. The availability and time periods for early voting vary based on...

       in Miami, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Florida in October 2006 three votes intended to be recorded for Democratic candidates were displaying as cast for Republican. Election officials attributed it to calibration errors in the touch screen of the voting system.
    • In Pennsylvania, a computer programming error forced some to cast paper ballots. In Indiana, 175 precincts also resorted to paper. Counties in those states also extended poll hours to make up for delays.
    • Cuyahoga County, Ohio: The Diebold computer server froze and stopped counting votes then the printers jammed so paper copies could not be retrieved for many votes and there was no way to be sure of the accuracy of the votes when the votes were being counted.
    • Waldenburg, Arkansas: The touch screen computer tallied zero votes for one mayoral candidate who confirmed that he certainly voted for himself and therefore there would be a minimum of one vote, this is a case of disappearingvotes on touchscreen machines.
    • Sarasota, Florida: There was an 18,000 person "undervote" in a congressional election. The subsequent investigation found that the undervote was not caused by software error. Poor ballot design was widely acknowledged as the cause of the undervote.
  • Instances of faulty technology and security issues surrounding these machines were documented on August 1, 2001 in the Brennan Center at New York University Law School. NY University Law School released a report with more than 60 examples of e-voting machine failures in 26 states in 2004 and 2006. Examples included Spanish language ballots that were cast by voters but not counted in Sacramento in 2004.
  • In Finland
    Finland
    Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

    , the Supreme Administrative Court
    Supreme Administrative Court of Finland
    The Supreme Administrative Court of Finland is the highest court in the Finnish administrative court system, parallel to the Supreme Court of Finland. Its jurisdiction covers the legality of the decisions of government officials, and its decisions are final...

     declared invalid the results of a pilot electronic vote in three municipalities, and ordered a rerun of the municipal elections. The system had an usability problem where the messages were ambiguous on whether the vote had been cast. In a total of 232 cases (2% of votes), voters had logged in, selected their vote but not confirmed it, and left the booth; the votes were not recorded. Following the failure of the pilot election, the Finnish government has abandoned plans to introduce electronic voting to the country.
  • 2008 United States Elections:
    • Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas: Touch screen voting machines flipped votes in early voting trials.
    • Humboldt County, California: A security flaw erased 197 votes from the computer database.

California top to bottom review


In May 2007, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 Secretary of State Debra Bowen
Debra Bowen
Debra Lynn Bowen , a member of the Democratic Party, has been Secretary of State of California since January 8, 2007. Before that she was a member of the California State Legislature from 1992 to 2006. In March 2008, she was given the Profile in Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential...

 commissioned a "Top to Bottom review" of all electronic voting systems in the state. She engaged computer security experts led by the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

 to perform security evaluations of voting system source code as well as "red teams" running "worst case" Election Day scenarios attempting to identify vulnerabilities to tampering or error. The Top to Bottom review also included a comprehensive review of manufacturer documentation as well as a review of accessibility features and alternative language requirements.

The end results of the tests was released in the four detailed Secretary of State August 3, 2007 resolutions (for Diebold Election Systems, Hart InterCivic, Sequoia Voting Systems and Elections Systems and Software, Inc.) and updated October 25, 2007 revised resolutions for Diebold and Sequoia voting systems. The security experts found significant security flaws in all of the manufacturers' voting systems, flaws that could allow a single non-expert to compromise an entire election.

On August 3, 2007 Bowen decertified machines that were tested in her top to bottom view including the ES&S InkaVote machine, which was not included in the review because the company submitted it past the deadline for testing. The report issued July 27, 2007 was conducted by the expert "red team" attempting to detect the levels of technological vulnerability. Another report on August 2, 2007 was conducted by a source code review team to detect flaws in voting system source code. Both reports found that three of the tested systems fell far short of the minimum requirements specified in the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG). Some of the systems tested were conditionally recertified with new stringed security requirements imposed. The companies in question have until the February 2008 California Presidential Primaries to fix their security issues and insure that election results can be closely audited.

The Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems
Diebold Election Systems
Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was a subsidiary of Diebold that makes and sells voting machines. In 2009 it was sold to competitor ES&S. Another subsidiary selling electronic voting systems in Brazil is Diebold-Procomp, with minor market share in that nation...

) AccuVote-TSx voting system was studied by a group of Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 computer scientists in 2006. Their results showed that the AccuVote-TSx was insecure and could be "installed with vote-stealing software in under a minute." The scientists also said that machines can transmit computer viruses from one to another "during normal pre- and post-election activity."

2000 presidential election in Florida


Punched cards received considerable notoriety in 2000 when their uneven use in Votomatic style systems in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 was alleged to have affected the outcome of the U.S. presidential election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

. Invented by Joseph P. Harris, Votomatic was manufactured for a time under license by IBM. William Rouverol, who built the prototype and wrote patents, stated that after the patents expired in 1982, lower quality machines had appeared on the market. The machines used in Florida had five times as many errors as a true Votomatic, he said.

Punched-card-based voting systems, the Votomatic system in particular, use special cards where each possible hole is pre-scored, allowing perforations to be made by the voter pressing a stylus through a guide in the voting machine
Voting machine
Voting machines are the total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment , that is used to define ballots; to cast and count votes; to report or display election results; and to maintain and produce any audit trail information...

. A problem with this system is the incomplete punch; this can lead to a smaller hole than expected, or to a mere slit in the card, or to a mere dimple in the card, or to a hanging chad. This technical problem was claimed by the Democratic Party to have influenced the 2000 U.S. presidential election in the state of Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

; critics claimed that punched card voting machines were primarily used in Democratic areas and that hundreds of ballots were not read properly or were disqualified due to incomplete punches, which allegedly tipped the vote in favor of George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 over Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

.

Other punched card voting systems use a metal hole-punch mechanism that does not suffer nearly as much from this fault, although most states have eliminated punched card voting systems of all types after the 2000 Florida experience. South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 still predominantly use punched card ballots.

Recommendations for improvement


In December 2005 the US Election Assistance Commission
Election Assistance Commission
The Election Assistance Commission is an independent agency of the United States government created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 . The Commission serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration...

 unanimously adopted the 2005 Voluntary Voting System Guidelines
Voluntary Voting System Guidelines
The Voluntary Voting System Guidelines are guidelines adopted by the United States Election Assistance Commission for the certification of voting systems...

, which significantly increase security requirements for voting systems and expand access, including opportunities to vote privately and independently, for individuals with disabilities. The guidelines took effect in December 2007 replacing the 2002 Voting System Standards (VSS) developed by the Federal Election Commission
Federal Election Commission
The Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency that was founded in 1975 by the United States Congress to regulate the campaign finance legislation in the United States. It was created in a provision of the 1975 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act...

.

Some groups such as the Open Voting Consortium believe that to restore voter confidence and to reduce the potential for fraud, all electronic voting systems must be completely available to public scrutiny.

Also proposed is the requirement for use of open public standards and specifications such as the Election Markup Language
Election Markup Language
Election Markup Language is an XML-based standard to support end to end management of election processes.-History of EML:The OASIS Election and Voter Services Technical Committee, which met for the first time in May 2001, was chartered...

 (EML) standard developed by OASIS
OASIS (organization)
The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards is a global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business and web service standards...

 and now under consideration by ISO (see documents and schemas). These can provide consistent processes and mechanisms for managing and performing elections using computer systems.

Legislation


In the summer of 2004, the Legislative Affairs Committee of the Association of Information Technology Professionals
Association of Information Technology Professionals
The Association of Information Technology Professionals is a professional association that focuses on information technology education. The group is a non-profit national group, but its activities are performed by about 200 local chapters organized on a geographic basis, and a similar number of...

 issued a nine-point proposal for national standards for electronic voting. In an accompanying article, the committee's chair, Charles Oriez, described some of the problems that had arisen around the country.

Legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress regarding electronic voting, including the Nelson-Whitehouse bill. This bill would appropriate as much as 1 billion dollars to fund states' replacement of touch screen systems with optical scan voting system. The legislation also addresses requiring audits of 3% of precincts in all federal elections. It also mandates some form of paper trail audits for all electronic voting machines by the year 2012 on any type of voting technology.

Another bill, HR.811 (The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003
Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003
The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 bill was introduced to the United States House of Representatives on May 22, 2003 as by Rush D. Holt, Jr. and United States Senate on December 9, 2003 as by Bob Graham...

), proposed by Representative Rush D. Holt, Jr.
Rush D. Holt, Jr.
Rush Dew Holt, Jr. is the U.S. Representative for . He is a member of the Democratic Party. He is currently the only Quaker in Congress.-Early life and education :Rush D. Holt was born to Rush D...

, a Democrat from New Jersey, would act as an amendment to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and require electronic voting machines to produce a paper audit trail for every vote. The U.S. Senate companion bill version introduced by Senator Bill Nelson from Florida on November 1, 2007, necessitates the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to continue researching and to provide methods of paper ballot voting for those with disabilities, those who do not primarily speak English, and those who do not have a high literacy rating. Also, it requires states to provide the federal office with audit reports from the hand counting of the voter verified paper ballots. Currently, this bill has been turned over to the United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
United States Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration is responsible for the rules of the United States Senate, with administration of congressional buildings, and with credentials and qualifications of members of the Senate, including responsibility for dealing with contested elections.The committee...

 and a vote date has not been set.

During 2008, Congressman Holt, because of an increasing concern regarding the insecurities surrounding the use of electronic voting technology, submitted additional bills to Congress regarding the future of electronic voting. One, called the "Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008" (HR5036), states that the General Services Administration
General Services Administration
The General Services Administration is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S...

 will reimburse states for the extra costs of providing paper ballots to citizens, and the costs needed to hire people to count them. This bill was introduced to the House on January 17, 2008. This bill estimates that $500 million will be given to cover costs of the reconversion to paper ballots; $100 million given to pay the voting auditors; and $30 million given to pay the hand counters. This bill provides the public with the choice to vote manually if they do not trust the electronic voting machines. A voting date has not yet been determined.

Popular culture


In the 2006 film Man of the Year
Man of the Year (2006 film)
Man of the Year is a 2006 Comedy film directed and written by Barry Levinson and starring Robin Williams in the lead role. In addition to Williams, the film features Christopher Walken, Laura Linney, Lewis Black and Jeff Goldblum....

 starring Robin Williams
Robin Williams
Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

, the character played by Williams—a Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian...

-like comedic host of political talk show—wins the election for President of the United States when a software error in the electronic voting machines produced by the fictional manufacturer Delacroy causes votes to be tallied inaccurately.

In Runoff, a 2007 novel by Mark Coggins
Mark Coggins
Mark Coggins is the American author of a series of novels featuring private eye protagonist AugustRiordan. He was born in New Mexico in 1957 and attended Stanford University, where he earned an...

, a surprising showing by the Green Party
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

 candidate in a San Francisco Mayoral election forces a runoff
Two-round system
The two-round system is a voting system used to elect a single winner where the voter casts a single vote for their chosen candidate...

 between him and the highly favored establishment candidate—a plot line that closely parallels the actual results of the 2003 election. When the private-eye protagonist of the book investigates at the behest of a powerful Chinatown businesswoman, he determines that the outcome was rigged by someone who defeated the security on the city's newly installed e-voting system.

"Hacking Democracy
Hacking Democracy
Hacking Democracy is a 2006 documentary film by producer Robert Carrillo Cohen and producer / directors Russell Michaels and Simon Ardizzone, shown on HBO...

" is a 2006 documentary film
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 shown on HBO. Filmed over three years, it documents American citizens investigating anomalies and irregularities with electronic voting systems that occurred during America's 2000 and 2004 elections, especially in Volusia County, Florida
Volusia County, Florida
Volusia County is a county located in the state of Florida. The U.S. Census Bureau 2010 official county's population was 494,593 . Its county seat is DeLand, and its most populous city is currently Deltona....

. The film investigates the flawed integrity of electronic voting machines, particularly those made by Diebold Election Systems
Diebold Election Systems
Premier Election Solutions, formerly Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was a subsidiary of Diebold that makes and sells voting machines. In 2009 it was sold to competitor ES&S. Another subsidiary selling electronic voting systems in Brazil is Diebold-Procomp, with minor market share in that nation...

 and culminates in the hacking of a Diebold
Diebold
Diebold, Inc. is a United States-based security systems corporation that is engaged primarily in the sale, manufacture, installation and service of self-service transaction systems , electronic and physical security products , and software and integrated systems for global financial and...

 election system in Leon County, Florida
Leon County, Florida
Leon County is a county located in the state of Florida, named after the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. At the 2010 Census, the population was 275,487. The county seat of Leon County is Tallahassee which also serves as the state capital. The county seat is home to two of Florida's major...

.

Electronic voting manufacturers

  • AccuPoll
  • Advanced Voting Solutions, formerly Shoup Voting Machine Co.
  • Bharat Electronics Limited
    Bharat Electronics Limited
    Bharat Electronics Limited is a state-owned electronics company with about nine factories, and few regional offices in India. It is owned by the Indian Government & primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces.BEL is one of the eight PSUs under Ministry of...

     (India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    )
  • Dominion Voting Systems
    Dominion Voting Systems
    Dominion Voting Systems is a privately-owned Denver-based company that sells electronic voting machines.In August 2010, Dominion reported that it has contracts to provide electronic voting systems to 600 jurisdictions in some 22 states of the United States, and has deployed 80,000 Dominion...

     (Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    )
  • Electronics Corporation of India Ltd
  • ES&S (USA)
  • Hart InterCivic
    Hart InterCivic
    Hart InterCivic Inc. is a privately held United States company that provides elections, and print solutions to jurisdictions nationwide. While headquartered in Austin, Texas, Hart products are used by hundereds of jurisdictions nationwide....

     (USA)
  • MicroVote
  • Nedap
    Nedap
    Nedap is a Netherlands based company. Its principal place of business is Groenlo, the Netherlands. It has subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Spain, and has been quoted on the Euronext exchange since 1947.The company focuses on developing and supplying...

     (Netherlands
    Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

    )
  • Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold Election Systems) (USA)
  • Sequoia Voting Systems
    Sequoia Voting Systems
    Sequoia Voting Systems was a California-based company that is one of the largest providers of electronic voting systems in the U.S., having offices in Oakland, Denver and New York City. Some of its major competitors were Premier Election Solutions and Election Systems & Software.It was acquired by...

     (USA)
  • Smartmatic
    Smartmatic
    Smartmatic is a multinational company founded in 2000 that specializes in the design and deployment of complex purpose-specific technology solutions aimed at helping governments to fulfill their commitments toward their citizens.It is organized around three business units: Electronic voting...

  • UniLect
  • VOTEX / TM Technologies Elections Inc. (Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    )

See also

  • Voting machine
    Voting machine
    Voting machines are the total combination of mechanical, electromechanical, or electronic equipment , that is used to define ballots; to cast and count votes; to report or display election results; and to maintain and produce any audit trail information...

  • Certification of voting machines
    Certification of voting machines
    Various governments require a certification of voting machines.In the United States there is only a voluntary federal certification for voting machines and each state has ultimate jurisdiction over certification, though most states currently require national certification for the voting...

  • Electoral fraud
    Electoral fraud
    Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

  • Vote counting system
    Vote counting system
    There exist various methods through which the ballots cast at an election may be counted, prior to applying a voting system to obtain one or more winners.-Manual counting:Manual counting requires a physical ballot that represents voter intent...

  • E-democracy
    E-democracy
    E-democracy refers to the use of information technologies and communication technologies and strategies in political and governance processes...

  • Open Source Digital Voting Foundation
    Open Source Digital Voting Foundation
    The Open Source Digital Voting Foundation is a California-based, United States Public Benefit Corporation. It was founded in November 2006 and incorporated in April 2007 in an effort to address issues surrounding US e-voting technology...


External links