Computer Science and Applied Mathematics

Adventures in Electronic Voting Research
Dan Wallach, Department of Computer Science, Rice University

In elections employing electronic voting machines, we have observed that poor procedures, equipment failures, and honest mistakes pose a real threat to the accuracy of the final tally. The event logs kept by these machines can give auditors clues as to the causes of anomalies and inconsistencies; however, each voting machine is trusted to keep its own audit and ballot data, making the record unreliable. If a machine is damaged, accidentally erased, or otherwise compromised during the election, we have no way to detect tampering or loss of auditing records and cast votes.

This talk begins with our experiences in real elections where we have observed these issues in the field, including a disputed primary election in Laredo, Texas as well as the recent Congressional election in Sarasota, Florida. These issues motivate a new design for a voting architecture we call "VoteBox" which networks the voting machines in a polling place, allowing for replicated, timeline-entangled logs which can survive malice and malfunction to provide a verifiable audit of election-day events.

Background article:

Voting System Risk Assessment via Computational Complexity Analysis
Dan S. Wallach
Department of Computer Science
Rice University

Additional background reading may be found on the web at the following link:

votebox.cs.rice.edu/

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Computer Science and Applied Mathematics

Kavli Frontiers of Science PRO

The Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series is the National Academy of Science’s premiere activity for distinguished young scientists. Unlike meetings that focus on a narrow area of science, these meetings allow participants to explore innovative…


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The Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series is the National Academy of Science’s premiere activity for distinguished young scientists. Unlike meetings that focus on a narrow area of science, these meetings allow participants to explore innovative research ideas across a wide variety of fields and to develop new networks that will serve them as they progress in their careers..

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