arrowSection 4.1 - Voting Technology

arrowSection 4.2 - Ballot Design

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In the proverbial New England town meeting, voting was possible without any equipment: a show of hands would suffice. But in any large-scale democracy, some sort of equipment is necessary to record and count votes. After the problems that surfaced in Florida during the 2000 recount, intense scrutiny is being given to the accuracy of different kinds of machines that are currently or potentially available for this purpose. The Florida debacle exposed, too, problems apart from counting errors by these machines: the infamous "butterfly ballot" showed that the design of a ballot could induce errors in the recording of votes. Since 2000, the public discussion over what equipment is best has encompassed the value of accessibility as well as accuracy: it is important that voters with various forms of disabilities be able to participate in democratic elections, and thus ease of use by disabled voters should factor into the choice of what machinery to adopt.

This Part of the e-Book addresses issues of law applicable to the design and use of voting equipment. Section 4.1 concerns the mechanisms and technologies by which these votes are cast and counted. Section 4.2 focuses specifically on the design of the ballot — how the names of the candidates are presented to the voter and how this presentation may affect the votes cast by the electorate