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Broken Ballots
Will Your Vote Count in the Electronic Age?

Douglas W. Jones and Barbara Simons

For many of us, the presidential election of 2000 was a wake-up call. The controversy following the vote count led to demands for election reform. But the new voting systems that were subsequently introduced to the market have serious security flaws, and many are confusing and difficult to use. Moreover, legislation has not kept up with the constantly evolving voting technology, leaving little to no legal recourse when votes are improperly counted. How did we come to acquire the complex technology we now depend on to count votes? Douglas Jones and Barbara Simons probe this question, along with public policy and regulatory issues raised by our voting technologies. Broken Ballots is a thorough and incisive analysis of the current voting climate that approaches American elections from technological, legal, and historical perspectives. The authors examine the ways in which Americans vote today, gauging how inaccurate, unreliable, and insecure our voting systems are. An important book for election administrators, political scientists, and students of government and technology policy, Broken Ballots is also a vital tool for any voting American.

April 2012 (electronic version, August 2012)

Authors' web page on the book

Testimonials for Broken Ballots

“Americans want to believe their votes are counted reliably, fairly, and fully, yet they have a nagging suspicion that all is not well in our country's voting systems. Broken Ballots chronicles in the greatest detail how these suspicions have been examined and how improvements have been pursued, rejected, implemented, or defeated. Jones and Simons detail the intricacies involved in maintaining the integrity of voting procedures and technologies and in protecting the outcome of elections from error or manipulation.

“Presenting evidence that ballot box access and security are under serious threat by the push for unauditable voting machines and untested and unsecured internet-based voting, Broken Ballots forces us to examine closely our electoral process. As a nation, we must take a serious look at the suggestions provided by Jones and Simons and enact the legislation needed to make strides toward secure, accessible, and verifiable elections. What can be more important?”

Representative Rush Holt (NJ-12)
April 9, 2012

“The cornerstone of our democracy is the right to vote and the right to have that vote counted as it was intended. Broken Ballots first demonstrates clearly and compellingly the extent to which that right is in jeopardy. Then it lays out a plan to preserve and protect that right. Kudos to the authors and to all those fighting to safeguard our democracy.”

Kevin Shelley
Former California Secretary of State

Broken Ballots is the definitive source of information about voting technology, past and present. But it is not purely focused on technology issues; it also thoroughly examines the policy issues surrounding the use of various voting technology. Most importantly, it documents the history of how these issues have been dealt over the centuries.

“The authors were directly involved in making some of that history in the last decade. This recent history is a particularly fascinating case study of many aspects of the making of policy about the use of technology, including the roles of business, election officials, politicians, activist, and technologists.

“It is not possible to understand elections without understanding the technology that makes them function (or malfunction). This book is essential reading for anyone who cares about elections.”

Professor David Dill
Computer Science
Stanford University


ISBN (Paperback): 9781575866369
ISBN (Cloth): 9781575866376
ISBN (electronic): 9781575866499

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