How Are eVoting Systems So Hard To Make?

Fri Aug 3, 2007 5:57:43 pm by Dustin
Filed under Dealing with People, General

In the fast few years of elections, you may have read about the failures of eVoting systems – voting systems which use computers to register the votes of an election instead of the traditional process of using paper. The arguments for making the transition include speeding up the process, eliminating some interface issues (ie the Hanging CHAD), and increase counting accuracy to name a few.

To go along with with the past failures of such systems, tests in the UK and California failed (for lack of any better description) this week. A few issues which were noted as the ‘failures’ include confusion of the users (walking away for traditional methods) and security issues (various reasons for making the system vulnerable).

As I see it there are three major portions of this project which need to be developed:

  • Security – make sure nobody and no system can achieve unauthorized access to the system in any manner along the way.
  • Tally the Votes – umm, this is just a counter and a log. Any first semester Computer Science student should be able to do this one.
  • Interface – bring them together with some sort of user interface. This may be hard since one would have to design for all adult ages, education levels, computer abilities, etc, but Hell the current paper systems are usually crap from an interface design anyway.

I am not saying the two example of ‘failures’ were actually failures. Tests happen for a reason, and it is much better to find these issues now than November of next year. There seem to be way more unsuccessful systems than there should be.