The Current State of Electronic Voting in the United States
The 2000 election called attention to the need for assessing the usability of voting systems and accelerated the introduction of electronic voting systems across the United States. An expert review, usability laboratory study, and field study were conducted to assess six electronic voting systems and four vote-verification/election audit systems. Though most of the systems were evaluated favorably, there were significant differences among them in the difficulty of correcting mistakes, casting a write-in vote, or changing a vote. The differences could be traced to characteristics of the systems, such as the use of automatic advancing, mechanical navigation, and a full-face ballot. It required more time and movements to cast a ballot on some systems; the more time and movement required, the lower the satisfaction ratings. Systems also differed in the frequency with which help was needed. Most voters succeeded in casting their votes as intended, but several types of errors were found, including voting for an opposing candidate. Ballot type greatly affected performance. In addition, certain voter characteristics related to the digital divide had an impact on their voting experiences. There were noteworthy differences in voters’ assessments of the verification systems; these were related to ease of use, extent of distraction, and the need for help.
KeywordsPresidential Election Vote System Verification System Vote Process Electronic Vote
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