Essential Baseline Research for UOCAVA-MOVE Act Implementation at the State-Local Levels


M. Bishop and C. Hoke, “Essential Baseline Research for UOCAVA-MOVE Act Implementation at the State - Local Levels,” Proceedings of the Workshop on UOCAVA Remote Voting Systems — Position Papers (Aug. 2010).



Three major Federal legislative enactments seek to enable overseas and military voters to cast valid ballots securely in Federal elections. The most recent legislation includes federal mandates and preemptive provisions that require State and local election administration officials to offer their overseas voters the ability to transmit materials electronically, such as remote voter registration forms and absentee ballot applications. This paper contends that our current knowledge of the technical and security infrastructure that exists at the State and local election administrative offices is insufficient to enable the UOCAVA and MOVE Acts to be fully realized while concomitantly protecting the integrity of Federal elections.Topical areas for independent research by qualified experts include voter information privacy protections and defense-in-depth security policies and practices—the latter of which relates closely to achieving system and service reliability and data integrity and accuracy. The paper contends that if electronic “best practices,” technical and security standards, and other Federal election policies are promulgated without sound baseline knowledge of existing conditions, serious but avoidable problems are likely to arise. These include (1) Phase–In Planning Omissions arising from potentially false assumptions regarding the technical infrastructural status quo; (2) Insufficient Budgets for ongoing technical and security management that may undermine election success and MOVE Act implementation; and (3) Voter Privacy, Security, and Reliability Objectives that may be undermined with significant new yet avoidable risks that may not be manageable within the current infrastructure, and thus not effectively remedied. Thus, policymakers and standards-setting agencies cannot meet the larger public interest and MOVE Act objectives without sound data (which can be anonymized to exclude names of the jurisdictions) and expert evaluations of the existing technical infrastructure within which local and State election administrators must function.

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