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Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple ACT of Casting a Ballot

Overview

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...

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[An] excellent study of usability and voting technology. This study is the most comprehensive analysis of voting machine usability to date, and it offers a new look into how the characteristics of voting machines affect the output of human-voting machine interactions." — Review of Policy Research

"This study of a very important but long neglected facet of elections is original in its scope and methodology. The authors' findings must be taken seriously by those who design voting systems, construct ballot formats, draft election legislation, or administer elections." —Richard G. Smolka, Election Law Journal

"The book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in researching elections and the legitimacy they confer or not to rulers, as well as for policymakers." — Journal of Politics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815735632
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2007
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,026,092
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul S. Herrnson is founding director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship at the University of Maryland. His books include Congressional Elections: Campaigning at Home and in Washington (5th ed., CQ Press, in press). Richard G. Niemi is Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester. His previous works include Vital Statistics on American Politics 2005-06, with Harold Stanley (CQ Press, 2005). Michael J. Hanmer is assistant professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. He has published in the area of election reform. Benjamin B. Bederson is associate professor of computer science and director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland. Frederick C. Conrad is research associate professor in survey research at both the University of Michigan and University of Maryland. Michael W. Traugott is professor of communication studies and senior research scientist in the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.
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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments     ix
The Study of Electronic Voting     1
A New Generation of Voting Systems     18
Voter Reactions to Electronic Voting Systems     44
The Accuracy of Electronic Voting Systems     67
Inequality in the Voting Booth     91
Vote Verification Systems     111
Toward More User-Friendly Voting and Election Systems     137
Appendixes
Voter Information Guides and Questionnaires     153
Characteristics of Respondents in the Field Studies     171
Regression Results for Chapters 5 and 6     173
Notes     187
Authors     209
Index     211
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