Verifying Elections: The Problem Isn’t Technical. It’s Legal and Political.

By Lori Cameron
Published 08/30/2017
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"election ahead" sign

George Washington University computer science professor, Poorvi Vora, once said, “Brush your teeth. Eat your spinach. Audit your elections.”

This is the prevailing wisdom among researchers who were disappointed that the 2016 US presidential election results were not audited to confirm who won. However, there is a twist: the problem lies less with paper or computer-based election systems and more with legal and political obstacles.

“Auditability, or verifiability, of election outcomes is perhaps the most important security requirement for voting systems,” write authors Ronald L. Rivest of MIT and Philip B. Stark of the University of California, Berkeley.

Read more about the challenges faced by researchers in creating reliable voting systems in the May/June issue of IEEE Security & Privacy. (Login may be required for full text.)



About Lori Cameron

Lori Cameron is a Senior Writer for the IEEE Computer Society and currently writes regular features for Computer magazine, Computing Edge, and the Computing Now and Magazine Roundup websites. Contact her at Follow her on LinkedIn.