FRS 001-010, Spring Quarter 2008: E-Voting and Elections

About this course

Florida’s electoral votes determined the result of the presidential election in 2000. But problems with paper ballots (such as hanging chad and confusing layouts of candidates) raised questions about whether the votes were cast, and counted, correctly. This hastened the introduction of computers for people to vote on. Ever since, controversy has swirled about these electronic voting (e-voting) systems. They have been praised as simplifying the election process and easing the plight of disabled voters. They have been condemned as too difficult to use safely and lacking adequate defenses against people who wish to tamper with the ballots cast on them. This course will examine the history and state of electronic voting systems. It will focus on how the machines are used, what policies and procedures are needed to administer and run these systems during an election, and how voters interact with the systems. We will also examine problems that the systems have had, and how those have been dealt with. We will explore these topics through readings, presentations, and discussion.

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