The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World

June 27, 2006

Problems with voting system security are making headlines like never before. The issue is attracting attention because of a number of factors: the rash of close, high-profile elections since 2000, greater attention to security since September 11, 2001, the recent shift in many states from mechanical to computerized voting systems, and high-profile reports about hacking of common electronic voting machines. Public attention to voting system security has the potential to be a positive force. Unfortunately, too much of the public discussion surrounding security has been marred by claims and counter-claims that are based on little more than speculation or anecdote.

On June 28, 2006, the Brennan Center released a report by its Voting System Security Task Force on the security of electronic voting systems. The Task Force was composed of internationally renowned government, academic, and private-sector scientists, voting machine experts and security professionals; together, they conducted the nation's first systematic analysis of security vulnerabilities in the three most commonly purchased electronic voting systems. The Task Force spent more than a year conducting its analysis and drafting its report, The Machinery of Democracy: Protecting Elections in an Electronic World.