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.”
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