Paper Assignment: Voting Technology Issues

Option 1: Write a report to your state or local election officials (or those in a different locality if you wish) describing what steps should be taken to ensure reliable voting technology is used both in the near term (2016-2018) and the longer term future. Use the Brennan Report, the website, and reports from the EAC as initial sources. Write this as if you are a staff person recommending either legislation or policy or both. Make this a detailed as possible, not generalities!

Option 2: You are to write a paper that examines a voting technology that has had problems in the recent past (since 1995), but is still in use today (not punch cards). Alternatively, it may be a technology that is currently in use and has potential problems that have been published (for example, the man-in-the-middle attack), although they have not (to our knowledge) actually occurred.

In your paper, you should explain the difficulties that occurred or could potentially occur. You should then explain how the problem could have been avoided or can be avoided in the future, if possible. What improvements could be made to the whole process involving using that technology? Your paper should always include consideration of the full process of the use of technology including initial testing, storage between elections, setup for an election, including appropriate testing, counting procedures, security all along the way.

Option 3: Internet voting - what are the advantages and potential problems? Are there procedures that could make this secure and reliable enough to use for absentee voting? For general voting? What do experiences in other countries indicate?

Option 4: Using cryptography to ensure electronic voting accurately reflects the votes cast. This can be applied to either optical scan or DREs. Investigate further and explain how the cryptography works and whether you think it can really be applied to make the voting process more secure.

Option 5: Consider the new laws requiring strict identification in order to vote that have been enacted by several states. Discuss whether these laws are justified. Discuss how these laws may have affected the election results in these states in the 2014 election.

Option 6: Select an episode in our U.S. history where election and voting procedures have been corrupted. How did this affect the election outcome. How did the voting technology used contribute to or make the episode possible?

If you have an alternate topic that involves modern voting technology, you may consult with me as to whether it is appropriate for a paper.

Length of the paper should be enough to develop the aspects mentioned above. I would expect that 8 to 10 pages, perhaps more, would be necessary.

Topic and list of sources (may be added to as you work) - due date on syllabus.

Paper due date on syllabus.