January 30, 2008
First Study on Voting Technology Innovations Prompted by the Help America Vote Act
The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot
Paul S. Herrnson, Richard G. Niemi, Michael J. Hanmer,
Benjamin B. Bederson and Frederick C. Conrad
Brookings Institution Press, 2008
Paper Text: 978-0-8157-3563-2, $19.95
Cloth Text: 978-0-8157-3564-9, $49.95
Description: Voting difficulties hung over America's presidential election in 2000 like a dark cloud. Passage of the Help America Vote Act in 2002 sparked further interest in the physical act of casting a vote, leading to a number of technological innovations. Voting Technology is the first book to investigate in a scientific and authoritative manner how voters respond to the new equipment.
An interdisciplinary group, the authors synthesize their work in American politics, campaigns, human and computer interaction, and human factors. They employ their collective expertise in evaluating five commercially available voting systems, each one representing a specific class based on shared design principles, as well as one prototype system not currently available. They evaluate each system according to key criteria such as accuracy, speed, and ease of use. The results reveal the good and bad about the systems, including specific features that contribute to greater clarity as well as those leading to confusion and error.
The concluding chapter of Voting Technology pulls together best practices that will guide voting-system manufacturers, ballot designers, election officials, political analysts, and voters. In a political system based on free and informed exercise of personal choice, the least we can do is make sure those choices are being correctly cast and accurately recorded and counted.
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