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Research Report

Recommendations for Improving Reliability of Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems

  • Brennan Center for Justice
Published: June 28, 2004

In response to public concern about Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems to be used in the 2004 elections, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR) asked the Brennan Center to undertake an independent assessment of DRE system security and to develop appropriate recommendations that could be implemented by Election Day. (For the Brennan Center-LCCR press release click here.)

Led by Eric Lazarus of DecisionSmith, a 20-year veteran in technology evaluation, a truly outstanding team of nationally renowned security experts came together in support of this effort. Team members conducted extensive literature reviews, interviewed experts, developed preliminary evaluations, and then discussed their findings extensively with Brennan Center attorneys.

In advance of the release of the report, the BC-LCCR recommendations were endorsed by virtually all the top computer scientists dedicated to improving the security of voting systems, including, among many others, the National Committee on Voting Integrity (NCVI), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), and David L. Dill, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University. (For the list of endorsers and statements of support click here.) In addition, DeForest Soaries, Jr., Chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has pledged to study how the recommendations can be incorporated in the Commissions work with local officials. And, finally, numerous civil rights groups have joined LCCR and the Brennan Center in calling for implementation of the recommendations.

As the report states: If implemented in full…these recommendations will help to alleviate certain risks of security breaches and machine malfunctions and to improve public confidence in the election administration in the target jurisdictions. Among the recommendations is a model RFP to speed the work of state and local election officials.