Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ohio 'Paper' Vote System Debuting With Flaws, Researchers Say

Date:
March 4, 2008
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
The new voting system that Cleveland and its suburbs will use in the primary election has serious flaws that risk greater voter error according to researchers who conducted a comprehensive analysis of the technology over the past several years.

The new voting system that Cleveland and its suburbs will use in next Tuesday's primary election has serious flaws that risk greater voter error, say members of a research team from the Universities of Maryland, Rochester and Michigan who conducted a comprehensive analysis of the technology over the past five years.

Cuyahoga County - which encompasses Cleveland - will retire its touch screen voting machines on March 4 in favor of a paper/optical scan system. The ballots will be counted at a central location.

One of the potential problems is that voters will not get a chance to run their ballots through a scanner before handing them in - a step available in some other jurisdictions with optical scan systems, say the researchers. This scan provides an important opportunity for voters to catch mistakes.

"This is not an auspicious debut," says University of Maryland political scientist Paul Herrnson who led the research team. "Voters will go to the polls Tuesday without a safety net. They should be very careful to avoid stray marks and to review their ballots closely. If they want to make changes, they should ask for a new form instead of erasing. Colorado dropped this particular configuration of the paper/optical scan machines because it eliminates this important accuracy check.

The ballots are computer forms similar to those used in standardized tests, in which voters register their choices by filling in small ovals with a pencil.

Herrnson and the research team of political and computer scientists conducted a five-year comparison of the usability of several electronic voting and verification systems. The study is the most comprehensive of its kind, relying on data from field tests with more than 1,500 subjects, laboratory tests and expert reviews. The results and recommendations are reported in the January 2008 book, Voting Technology: The Not-So-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot, published by the Brookings Institution.

Among the research findings on the paper ballot/optical scan system: users sometimes "overvote" - select too many candidates in a single race, disqualifying the vote. Erasures or stray marks may be read by the computer as overvotes.

"The worst mistake of all is accidentally voting for the competitor in the race," Herrnson says. "In effect, that's two votes against your own candidate. With central count optical scan there's no review screen to help a voter catch such an error."

When voters finish with the ballots, they put them in a collection box in the precinct. Then, the ballots are taken to a central location for scanning and tallying.

This central count approach poses potential security problems, Herrnson adds, pointing to numerous examples of U.S. election fraud involving paper ballots.

"It's ironic that Cuyahoga County is replacing touch screen machines with paper ballots," says research team member Richard Niemi", a University of Rochester political scientist. "Based on our research, I'm convinced that the right kind of touch screen machine could be better than paper."

"The very act of changing the machines can cause problems," says research team member Michael Hanmer, a University of Maryland political scientist. "Both voters and election officials will be on unfamiliar ground Tuesday. Everyone needs to stay on their toes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "Ohio 'Paper' Vote System Debuting With Flaws, Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303145236.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2008, March 4). Ohio 'Paper' Vote System Debuting With Flaws, Researchers Say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303145236.htm
University of Maryland. "Ohio 'Paper' Vote System Debuting With Flaws, Researchers Say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080303145236.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Facebook Wants You To Download Its Messenger App

Why Facebook Wants You To Download Its Messenger App

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Facebook will start requiring users to download a separate Messenger application if they wish to continue using Facebook for mobile messaging. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen's Phone Ignites Under Her Pillow; How Real Is The Risk?

Teen's Phone Ignites Under Her Pillow; How Real Is The Risk?

Newsy (July 28, 2014) A Texas teen's Samsung phone apparently ignited while she slept, but what was the real problem here? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Zillow Snaps Up Web Real Estate With Trulia Deal

Zillow Snaps Up Web Real Estate With Trulia Deal

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Zillow's decision to buy rival Trulia is just one step in a continuing string of acquisitions, and Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff is already thinking about his next big deal. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins