What You Should Know About the Present and Future of America's Voting Machines

Image of a man using an electronic voting machine

In 2000, a close, hard-fought and highly disputed presidential election occurred. This was due to poor performance of voting machines — machines that failed to capture voters' true intentions on Election Day.

Since then, the nation has struggled to get control of this problem. Doug Chapin of the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs has studied this problem for over 15 years.

Chapin notes that some jurisdictions like Los Angeles, CA and Austin, TX are tackling the problem on their own, designing and building prototypes of their own systems that they hope will fill the need. At the same time, the federal government is revamping its approach to testing and approving voting machines in order to give states more flexibility in choosing new systems.

Election officials are gaining new appreciation for technical skills like information security, which led Virginia to use IT testing to scrap a deeply insecure voting system. Other states are being led to embrace auditing procedures to ensure that voting machines are performing properly. These same skills are contributing to the ongoing discussion about whether to make online voting available.

Addressing — and solving — the nation's voting technology challenges requires professionals who can identify technical issues while also navigating policy hurdles in acquiring new voting machines. The Certificate in Election Administration program at the University of Minnesota is a first-of-its-kind and convenient online program to expand your tool set and further your career.

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