Voting system planning and testing
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Voting System Planning and Testing. R. Michael Alvarez Caltech/MIT VTP Voting Systems Testing Summit 2005. Voting systems. The entire process, end-to-end (registration, balloting, tabulation ..) Yes, precinct-voting devices are critical, but so are VR, absentee/early voting, tabulation

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Voting System Planning and Testing

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Voting system planning and testing

Voting System Planning and Testing

R. Michael Alvarez

Caltech/MIT VTP

Voting Systems Testing Summit 2005


Voting systems

Voting systems

  • The entire process, end-to-end (registration, balloting, tabulation ..)

    • Yes, precinct-voting devices are critical, but so are VR, absentee/early voting, tabulation

    • Planning and testing should involve the entire process, especially potential points of failure

      • One important concern now are statewide voter registration systems.

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


Security planning

Security Planning

  • End-to-end security review, threat assessment

  • Protect physical facility, use procedural controls (chain of custody)

  • Software and hardware protection

  • Many eyes involved in each step

  • Openness and transparency

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


Example l a travis county

Example: L&A, Travis County

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


Contingency planning

Contingency Planning

  • Assume bad things will happen! Moynihan (2005), “Leveraging Collaborative Networks in Infrequent Emergency Situations”:

    • Pre-plan, but expect to plan more once emergency occurs

    • Identify necessary resources and match them with organizational competence

    • Create trust where you can, find alternatives when you can’t

    • Take advantage of technology to improve coordination and efficacy

    • Establish, formalize and communicate basic procedures

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


Testing

Testing

  • In the US, we generally procure first, experiment later. Testing often only around procurement.

  • We need to develop protocols for testing practices:

    • Pilot test voting systems, starting small, building to real experiments; using experimental methods, with treatment and control groups (and use real people!)

    • Field test usability, ballot designs, accessibility

    • Auditing, monitoring, data analysis from field

    • Security testing, including “tiger team” and parallel monitoring programs

    • Think of testing as a continuing and on-going process (before, during and after procurement)

    • Disseminate testing results, feedback into certification

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


Example buenos aires

Example: Buenos Aires

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


Conclusions and questions

Conclusions and Questions

  • Need to develop security plans

  • Need to develop contingency plans

  • Need testing protocols for voting systems

    • Standards or guidelines for plans and testing protocols?

    • Best practices?

    • Who should help develop plans and protocols (EAC, NIST, NAS, State/local officials)?

    • Resources?

Alvarez, Voting System Testing Summit 2005


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