Douglas W. Jones and Barbara Simons

Center for the Study of Language and Information

For many of US citizens, the presidential election of 2000 was a wake-up call. The controversy following the vote count led to demands for election reform. But the new voting systems that were subsequently introduced to the market have serious security flaws, and many are confusing and difficult to use. Moreover, legislation has not kept up with the constantly evolving voting technology, leaving little to no legal recourse when votes are improperly counted.

How did we come to acquire the complex technology we now depend on to count votes?  Douglas Jones and Barbara Simons probe this question, along with public policy and regulatory issues raised by our voting technologies.  Broken Ballots is a thorough and incisive analysis of the current voting climate that approaches American elections from technological, legal, and historical perspectives.  The authors examine the ways in which Americans vote today, gauging how inaccurate, unreliable, and insecure our voting systems are. An important book for election administrators, political scientists, and students of government and technology policy, Broken Ballots is also a vital tool for any voting American.

Moreover, this book must be read too in Europe. Where the same problematic is on debate. Particularly in France and Belgium where the question of the electronic vote by computer is open …


About the Authors

1. Introduction

A Book Overview

2. Déjà Vu All Over Again

2.1 The First Round

2.2 The First Voting Mechanisms

2.3 The Australian Ballot

2.4 How Secret?

2.5 Voting Machines

2.6 Industrialization

2.7 Consolidation and Monopoly

2.8 Adopting Voting Machines

3. How Did We Get Here?

3.1 Scandal in Chicago

3.2 Fraud and Reform in the Interwar Era

3.3 Problems with Mechanical Voting Machines

3.4 The Rise of the Punched Card

3.5 The Trouble With Chad

3.6 The Success of the Votomatic

3.7 What’s Wrong with the Votomatic

4. Filling the Bubble

4.1 Central-Count Machines

4.2 Precinct-Count Machines

4.3 Mark-Sense Machines in Action

4.4 What is a Vote?

4.5 The Human Element

4.6 Image-Based Mark Sensing

4.7 New Directions

5. Trusting in Technology

5.1 Voting by Electricity

5.2 The First Generation at the Polls

5.3 Second Generation DRE Voting Systems

5.4 What’s Wrong with DRE Voting?

5.5 Voter Verifiability

5.6 Experimental Studies

5.7 What Happened in Sarasota?

6. Establishing a Standard

6.1 The Press for Standards

6.2 The 1990 Voting System Standards

6.3 2002 and Interim Standards

6.4 The Help America Vote Act of 2002

6.5 The IEEE steps in

6.6 Continuing Developments

6.7 International Standards

7. The Problems with Diebold

7.1 Overview

7.2 Early Events

7.3 Early State Diebold Studies

7.4 Demonstrations of Election Rigging

7.5 Some Later State Diebold Studies

7.6 Linda Lamone and Maryland

7.7 What Can We Learn from Diebold?

8. The California Soap Opera

8.1 Some Early Events

8.2 Shelley Battles Vendors & Election Officials

8.3 California’s Revolving Door

8.4 More Diebold Revelations

8.5 The Top to Bottom Review

8.6 Conclusion

9. Voters with Disabilities

9.1 A Story

9.2 A Second Story

9.3 Many Voices

9.4 Some Early Legislation and Litigation

9.5 The AAPD

9.6 Vendor Financial Contributions

9.7 Lawsuits

9.8 How Accessible are DREs?

9.9 What Lies Ahead?

10. The Right to Vote

10.1 Some Background

10.2 Issues Relating to Voter Registration

10.3 Studies and Proposed Reforms

10.4 Voter Registration Databases (VRDs)

10.5 The Future of VRDs

11. Internet Voting

11.1 The DC Pilot Test

11.2 Internet Risks

11.3 Early Reports

11.4 Misconceptions

11.5 Ignoring the Obvious

11.6 Military Voting

11.7 Some Other Countries

11.8 The Future of Internet Voting

12. Missed Opportunities

12.1 The Role of Public Interest Groups

12.2 The Help America Vote Act (HAVA)

12.3 Efforts to reform HAVA

12.4 The 2008, 2010, 2012 Elections and Beyond

13. Voting, Counting, and Auditing

13.1 Manually Counting Ballots

13.2 Post-Election Audits and Recounts

13.3 Examining Other Aspects of Elections

13.4 Other Voting Models

13.5 Why Audits Matter

14. Conclusion

14.1 Recommendations

14.2 Looking Ahead

Appendix: Disability Rights Groups’ Lawsuits

A.1 Lawsuits involving Jim Dickson or the AAPD

A.2 Lawsuits involving the NFB




What experts are saying about the book:

* The cornerstone of our democracy is the right to vote and the right to have that vote counted

as it was intended. Broken Ballots first demonstrates clearly and compellingly the extent to

which that right is in jeopardy. Then it lays out a plan to preserve and protect that right. Kudos

to the authors and to all those fighting to safeguard our democracy.

– Kevin Shelley, Former California Secretary of State.

* This book is a must read, not only for election officials and other policy makers, but also for

public interest groups who seek to protect the vote and, indeed, for every citizen who wants his

or her vote to be counted.

– Fritz Schwarz, Chief Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at the

New York University School of Law.

* Broken Ballots is the definitive source of information about voting technology, past and present. But it is not purely focused on technology issues; it also thoroughly examines the policy issues surrounding the use of various voting technology. Most importantly, it documents the history of how these issues have been dealt over the centuries.The authors were directly involved in making some of that history in the last decade. This recent history is a particularly fascinating case study of many aspects of the making of policy about the use of technology, including the roles of business, election officials, politicians, activist, and technologists. It is not possible to understand elections without understanding the technology that makes them function (or malfunction). This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about elections.

– David Dill, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.

* Americans want to believe their votes are counted reliably, fairly, and fully, yet they have a nagging suspicion that all is not well in our country’s voting systems. Broken Ballots chronicles in the greatest detail how these suspicions have been examined and how improvements have been pursued, rejected, implemented, or defeated. Jones and Simons detail the intricacies involved in maintaining the integrity of voting procedures and technologies and in protecting the outcome of elections from error or manipulation. Presenting evidence that ballot box access and security are under serious threat by the push for unauditable voting machines and untested and unsecured internet-based voting, Broken Ballots forces us to examine closely our electoral process. As a nation, we must take a serious look at the suggestions provided by Jones and Simons and enact the legislation needed to make strides toward secure, accessible, and verifiable elections. What can be more important?”

– Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12)

* In my opinion, it is the most thorough, well researched, and definitive publication on this subject that has ever been written - despite the reality that it was under perpetual gestation for many years, because the ground under our elections has continually shifted, although often not for the better. The commercial vendors undoubtedly will hate it, because it truly documents a reality in which the seams are unseemly, and the lack of accountability is almost unbelievable. But it is one of the most important books around for those who believe in democracy.

– Peter G. Neumann, Principal Scientist at SRI International

ISBN (Paperback): 9781575866369

ISBN (Cloth): 9781575866376

ISBN (electronic): 9781575866499

Publisher: Center for the Study of Language and Inf

Series: Center for the Study of Language and Information - Lecture Notes Series

Pages: 420

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