As of July 11, 2019, this page is still under construction, although many of our reports are posted below. In the next few weeks, we hope to have all our past reports, press releases, and other documentation grouped together on this page by voting system. We hope this will allow our readers to locate more easily information about particular types or brands of equipment in use, or being proposed for use, in their locality.
Meanwhile, more of our reports can be viewed under the tab “Issues and Investigations” and the sub-tab “By Election Year.”
We want to caution the reader, however, that voting systems vary greatly from state to state, depending on certification requirements, updates to equipment, and other factors. For example, Florida does its own testing and certification of voting equipment, and Florida is allowed to add its own software to voting systems as described in the state’s Voting System Standards, which were last updated in 2005.
Florida’s 2018 recount of the U.S. Senate race illustrated once again how poor ballot design can change the results of an election. Republican Rick Scott prevailed over Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson by only 10,000 votes; however, in heavily Democratic Broward County, a bad ballot design may have caused tens of thousands of voters to miss the race altogether and perhaps altered the outcome of this election.
Yet the principles of good ballot design are well known. Why weren’t they followed in Broward? Who should be responsible for reviewing and approving ballots? How can we prevent this from happening again?
In the 2006 general election, problems with the state’s most widely used touchscreen voting machine–the ES&S iVotronic–ultimately led in-coming Governor Charlie Crist to make it his first priority to mandate the use of optically scanned paper ballots throughout the state.
Assessing Voting System Accuracy (December 2008)
In 2007, FFEC research director, Mary (Kitty) Garber predicted that without modifications, a poorly designed overvote feature on the new scanner would likely result in many more lost votes due to overvoting–a common voter error that the feature is designed to prevent. The feature was not modified, and in 2008, Garber’s fears were realized. In Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county, Garber found the feature had disproportionately affected minority voters. Garber’s research was later used by the Brennan Center for Law and Justice, as well as election integrity activists in Wisconsin, to push for changes to the feature before certification in other states.