The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has just released a new report on The Future of Voting. The recommendations in that report are clear, unambiguous, far-reaching, and (in my opinion) absolutely correct. I won’t try to summarize it—if you can’t read the whole thing, at least read the executive summary—but a few of the recommendations are worth highlighting:
- Protect voter registration databases and electronic poll books
- Votes should be cast only by human-readable paper ballots, though machine-marking is acceptable.
- Recounts should be done by human inspection of these ballots
- Risk-limiting audits should be implemented as soon as possible, in all jurisdictions
Also: though it isn’t a major part of the report, the committee did briefly address those who suggest that the blockchain should be employed to secure elections. Again, they were unambiguous:
While the notion of using a blockchain as an immutable ballot box may seem promising, blockchain technology does little to solve the fundamental security issues of elections, and indeed, blockchains introduce additional security vulnerabilities.
If you’re at all concerned about voting, read this report. My congratulations to the committee on a wonderful job.