Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy

By R. Michael Alvarez; Thad E. Hall | Go to book overview

PREFACE

When we started working on this, our second book project, we thought it would be relatively easy to get on paper our research on the electronic voting debate. After all, we have worked together for six years and we have written what probably amounts to thousands of pages on voting technology, election administration, and reform. Regardless of what we thought, this book proved to be a longer and more complex journey than we had planned—largely because the debates about the future of election administration in the United States have proved to be more political, more conflictual, and less predictable than we had anticipated.

We have managed to bring closure to this part of our electronic voting research. In the aftermath of the 2006 midterm elections, we are simultaneously thrilled by how much research we and others in this area have done in the past six years, but daunted by how much more work needs to be done. We are excited when policy makers and election officials listen to the research community and when they try to apply our research in their difficult work. When we look to the next few years, we see much more work that needs to be done but only a limited amount of time before the next major federal election cycle will be upon us.

We would like to thank the many people who have, directly or indirectly, given us their input, advice, or constructive criticism, as this particular project has gone from concept to final product. So many election officials, election reform advocates, voting system vendors, social scientists, and researchers have helped us that we will not attempt to name them all. We would, however, like to recognize those individuals we work with on a daily basis.

Various institutions and organizations have helped to support our research, financially and logistically. Carnegie Corporation of New York has supported the work of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project since 2000 and gave us the financial support necessary to write this book and to undertake our unique survey research efforts reported in chapter 7 through a grant to the University of Utah. We also need to acknowledge the Dean's Office of the College of Social and Behavioral Science and the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah, which provided the initial funding for our survey research reported in chapter 7. We especially want to acknowledge the support and help of Geri Mannion, who provided us with a grant to support the writing of this book. Without her assistance, this book would not have been possible. Geri's support for election administration efforts

-ix-

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Electronic Elections: The Perils and Promises of Digital Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter 1 - What This Book is About 1
  • Chapter 2 - Paper Problems, Electronic Promises 12
  • Chapter 3 - Criticisms of Electronic Voting 30
  • Chapter 4 - The Frame Game 50
  • Chapter 5 - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back 71
  • Chapter 6 - The Performance of the Machines 100
  • Chapter 7 - Public Acceptance of Electronic Voting 133
  • Chapter 8 - A New Paradigm for Assessing Voting Technologies 156
  • Chapter 9 - Conclusion 178
  • Notes 191
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 217
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