February 6, 2023

Next Steps for Mercer County Following Voting-Machine Failure

Hand-marked optical-scan paper ballots are the most secure form of voting: with any other method, if the computerized voting machines are hacked, there’s no trustworthy paper trail from which we can determine the true outcome of the election, based on the choices that voters actually indicated.  Even those voting methods that appear to have a […]

Why the voting machines failed in Mercer County

On Election Day, November 8, 2022, every voting machine in every polling place in Mercer County, New Jersey failed to work.  Voters in each precinct filled in the ovals in their preprinted optical-scan paper ballots, but the voting machines couldn’t read them.  So voters were instructed to put their ballots into “slot 3” of the […]

Is Internet Voting Secure? The Science and the Policy Battles

I will be presenting a similarly titled paper at the 2022 Symposium Contemporary Issues in Election Law run by the University of New Hampshire Law review, October 7th in Concord, NH. The paper will be published in the UNH Law Review in 2023 and is available now on SSRN. I have already serialized parts of […]

The anomaly of cheap complexity

Why are our computer systems so complex and so insecure?  For years I’ve been trying to explain my understanding of this question. Here’s one explanation–which happens to be in the context of voting computers, but it’s a general phenomenon about all our computers: There are many layers between the application software that implements an electoral […]

Magical thinking about Ballot-Marking-Device contingency plans

The Center for Democracy and Technology recently published a report, “No Simple Answers: A Primer on Ballot Marking Device Security”, by William T. Adler.   Overall, it’s well-informed, clearly presents the problems as of 2022, and it’s definitely worth reading.  After explaining the issues and controversies, the report presents recommendations, most of which make a lot […]