New Report Outlines Best Practices for E-Voting

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: 617-495-1115
Date: June 14, 2004

CAMBRIDGE, MA – A new report released today outlines a set of “best practices” for effecting the most practical, fair and effective use of electronic voting in American elections.
The Best Practices Report is the result of a daylong Symposium on Voting and Vote Counting held June 1, sponsored by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and partially funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The symposium brought together an array of technologists, policy makers, academics, and industry representatives to discuss technical and operational policies in the information age.
Those best practices identified in the report include:
Certain immediate steps must be taken, including the development of standards by the Election Assistance Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology;
The process is as important as the underlying technology;
A hybrid of paper and electronic systems provides the most effective voting system;
Good voting systems require good design standards;
Openness of a voting process is critical for the perception of legitimacy of that process;
Election systems must have built-in auditing capabilities;
The general approach to building and implementing elections processes must be carefully targeted.
Jean Camp, Kennedy School associate professor of public policy, who helped organize the Symposium, called the report a valuable learning tool for decision makers across the country.
“Technology, rather than providing a simple panacea for innumerable voting problems, has introduced a host of new election woes, and technologists alone cannot address those problems,” she said. “This Best Practices Report will serve as a guideline for those government officials and volunteers who support the act of voting.”
The Best Practices Report is available on the Web: http://www.designforvalues.org/voting/bestpract.html

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