Protect Your Vote - Avoid Election Machine Errors

Newswise — Of all the conceivable problems that could lead to a miscount Election Day, there's one possibility that voters can do something about " avoid making election machine-related errors, says a University of Maryland researcher who led a comprehensive study of voter problems using touch screen and paper-based machines.

"Under the best of circumstances, simple voter mistakes can make the difference in a close election, so it's up to individuals to go into the booth prepared and aware of the pitfalls," says Paul S. Herrnson, the University of Maryland political scientist who led a multi-year, multi-state study comparing voter use of electronic and paper/optical scan systems. The research team included political scientists, computer scientists and psychologists.

http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/sociss/release.cfm?ArticleID=1583http://www.bsos.umd.edu/gvpt/herrnson/

"In our experiments, even with the simplest ballot design and the most user-friendly machines, we found voters still cast their ballots for the wrong candidate about three percent of the time," Herrnson adds. "Depending on which polls you believe, that's enough of a margin to affect the outcome on Tuesday. Most often, when voters make a mistake, they not only fail to cast their ballot for the candidate they want, they end up voting for the opponent. So it's a double whammy."

COMMON MISTAKES

Here are some common problems that showed up in the Herrnson team's research, "Voting Technology: The Not-so-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot" :

"¢Most voter errors involve choosing a candidate whose name is listed immediately before or after the one the voter intended to select."¢Voters casting ballots on touch screen systems are likely to make somewhat fewer errors than those using paper ballot/optical scan systems or the dial-and-buttons systems."¢A common problem with paper ballot/optical scan systems involves write-in votes, where voters often fail to fill in the oval alerting the machine to look for a write-in. This error voided the write-in effort 30 percent of the time in the study.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VOTERS

Herrnson recommends that voters take the following precautions to minimize the chance of errors:

"¢Bring a marked-up sample ballot to the polling place. This will enable voters to quickly and accurately transfer the information from the sample ballot to the real thing, saving time and cutting down the likelihood of errors due to snap decisions. "¢Voters using touch screen or other electronic voting systems should pay careful attention to the review screen. The screen will highlight any races or ballot questions where the voter has not made a selection or has marked the ballot incorrectly."¢Voters using touch screen systems can and should compare the review screen to the sample ballot they brought with them."¢Voters using paper ballot/optical scan systems will have to be more vigilant. These systems don't have review pages that highlight skipped or missing votes. Some vote scanners do have a small screen that alerts voters who did not make a selection in a specific race or who made more selections than allowed in a given race. (It is impossible to make the latter "overvote" error on electronic systems.) "¢Once voters realize they've forgotten to make a selection on a paper ballot, the remedy is simply to fill in the oval and make the choice. But, the remedy for a wrong selection is to start over with a new paper ballot and discard the old one. Voters who cross out one choice and fill in the oval for another are likely to have that vote nullified because the scanner will treat them as two votes in a single race, an overvote. "¢If voting on paper and casting a write-in vote, be sure to fill in the oval, complete the arrow, or do whatever is required to alert the machine that a write-in selection has been made.

As for long-term solutions, Herrnson recommends greater care in the design and preparation of the ballots by election officials and increased education efforts to make sure voters are familiar with the machines and the ballot before they go to cast their votes.

MULTI-YEAR/ MULTI-STATE STUDY

The study involved a variety of tests of six voting systems: a paper ballot/optical scan system, a touch screen system, a system with a dial and buttons, and systems with and without paper trails, as well as systems used to add a paper trail to electronic machines. It was conducted by researchers from the Universities of Maryland, Rochester and Michigan.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The study's findings are available in book form published by the Brookings Institution: "Voting Technology: The Not-so-Simple Act of Casting a Ballot." http://www.brookings.edu/press/Books/2007/votingtechnology.asp

Additional information on the research:http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/sociss/release.cfm?ArticleID=1583http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/sociss/release.cfm?ArticleID=1603

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5650
Released: 26-Oct-2020 4:25 PM EDT
Election polls are 95% confident but only 60% accurate, Berkeley Haas study finds
University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business

How confident should you be in election polls? Not nearly as confident as the pollsters claim, according to a new Berkeley Haas study.

23-Oct-2020 2:45 PM EDT
Who Does the Electoral College Favor?
Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

Trump’s 2016 victory in the Electoral College without leading in the popular vote has led to wide speculation of a repeat in 2020. Columbia University researchers have been wondering the same thing. They examined how Electoral College outcomes are conditioned by how states voted in previous elections. Their simulations suggest that in 2020 the Electoral College bias is likely to again favor the Republicans, but to a lesser degree than in 2016.

Newswise: Experts say most damaging scenario to US democracy is Trump rejecting election results, potential Supreme Court ruling against him
Released: 26-Oct-2020 8:55 AM EDT
Experts say most damaging scenario to US democracy is Trump rejecting election results, potential Supreme Court ruling against him
University of Notre Dame

To get expert opinions on the fate of the nearly 245-year-old democracy, a group of students from Notre Dame conducted a survey and a path selection game with 150 members of political science professional associations who specialize in elections.

Released: 23-Oct-2020 3:50 PM EDT
Trump Led Biden in Twitter Volume and in Positive Mentions, Analysis Shows
New York University

President Donald Trump received more Twitter mentions, and a greater increase of positive mentions, relative to former Vice President Joe Biden Thursday night, shows a new analysis of online activity leading up to, during, and immediately after the second presidential debate.

Released: 23-Oct-2020 2:30 PM EDT
Trump continued to falsely claim Biden supported getting rid of private insurance
Newswise

In the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, moderator Kristen Welker asks the candidates to speak about their plans for healthcare in the United States. President Trump once again accused his oponent of wanting to eliminate private health insurance. Trump has made this claim repeatedly. This claim is false. It conflates Biden's plan with those of other Democrats pushing "Medicare for All."

Released: 23-Oct-2020 1:50 PM EDT
Are we really “rounding the corner" when it comes the coronavirus pandemic?
Newswise

“We’re rounding the turn,” Trump said during the debate. This implies a meaningful improvement. We rate this claim as false. On that very same day the U.S. recorded 77,000 new cases, according to NBC News. This tops the previous high that had been set in July. We may be learning to "live with it," as Trump mentioned, but this is not an improvement.

Released: 22-Oct-2020 11:55 AM EDT
A video posted by a European-based group called World Doctors Alliance falsely claims the novel coronavirus is “a normal flu virus”
Newswise

A video posted by a European-based group called World Doctors Alliance claims the novel coronavirus is “a normal flu virus” and there is no COVID-19 pandemic. Although the video was removed from Youtube, portions of the video are circulating on Facebook. We rate this claim as false. Scientists universally agree that the cuase of this pandemic is a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and not a strain of influenza. COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu. COVID-19 so far has killed more people in the U.S. than the past five flu seasons combined.


Showing results

110 of 5650

close
2.04125