Evaluating the Usability of E-Voting Technologies

Evaluating the Usability of E-Voting Technologies

Jeffrey Hsu (Fairleigh Dickinson University, Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences, Madison, NJ, USA), Qiyang Chen (Department of Management and Information Systems, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, USA) and Gary Bronson (Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/ijissc.2015040102
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Abstract

Voting has been an accepted means for electing candidates, receiving public approval for referendums and budgets, and for many other tasks where the will of the people, whether a broad population or a select group, can be recorded and measured in a tangible way. Because of advances in technology, together with problems inherent in manual forms of voting, the concepts and issues relating to electronic voting (e-voting) and various other technology-based forms, are been proposed, discussed, and examined. The goal of all such systems is the casting and recording of the votes from eligible voters as they intended to be cast, with adequate security. This security requires that there be no identifiable connection between the voter and the vote that is cast, while providing an audit trail that can be used to validate that every vote was counted and tallied, as cast. The focus of this paper is to examine electronic voting technologies from the perspective of usability in controlled environments. Current research has shown that such systems form the majority of the nascent e-voting technologies, primarily because they have come closest to solving the usability and security issues inherent in technology–based voting systems.
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Background

In an age where the Internet, advanced computer technologies, and other advances have taken hold, there is a sense that voting has been left behind somewhat in the technological revolution. Many elections are still being conducted using paper ballots, mechanical lever devices, and punch cards. At the same time, there are readily available electronic devices that are much more sophisticated and can replace the manual means current being used (Travnicek, 2014; Underhill, 2012; Everett, 2007; Jones, 2003). Table 1 lists the four major categories of e-voting technologies. Table 2 lists the major anticipated advantages expected from electronic voting, regardless of the technology used, along with current concerns and their associated disadvantages.

Table 1.
Major categories of electronic voting technologies
TechnologyMethodology
Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) machinesVotes are cast on a computer touch screen and counted as they are cast.
Electronic Ballot Printers (EBPs)A touch screen produces a machine-readable paper ballot, which is subsequently read by a vote-counting scanner.
Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) systemsSpecially marked ballots are scanned and counted.
Internet VotingVotes are cast using the Internet to a central vote-counting computer.
Table 2.
Major associated advantages and disadvantages of e-voting
Anticipated Advantage         Associated Disadvantage
Speed of tabulationSecurity
Accuracy of TabulationLack of standards
ConvenienceLack of transparency and openness
Increased participationLack of verifiable audits
Increased Fraud PreventionIncreased Fraud
Long term labor cost savingsIncreased maintenance costs
Increased user accessibilityLegal conflicts

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