Is E-Voting Safe?

How it Works: E-Voting Step-by-Step Using the ES&S IVotronic

Illustration: K. Dan Clark

1. A poll worker hands you a Personal Electronic Ballot that contains a chip storing the ballot you need. Machines by other companies put the ballot on a smart card.

2. You take the PEB to a voting booth and slide it into a slot in an IVotronic machine, activating it for voting.

3. The IVotronic steps you through the electronic ballot, letting you make your choices in each race and review your votes.

4. You press the big red Vote button, storing your votes in triplicate in the IVotronic's internal NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) banks.

Many states will require a voter-verified paper trail in future elections. You'll look at a printout of your vote behind a glass or plastic barrier; then you'll press a button to accept it, or reject it and start over.

5. Every hour or so, election judges manually add the totals from each machine to make sure the number of votes matches the number of voters who have come in.

6. At the close of polls, election judges print out final tallies from each machine and load them into a master PEB unit.

7. Election judges post a printout of the local results, transmit them to a special PC at election headquarters over an encrypted telephone line, and later deliver the master PEB and printouts in person.

8. In case of a recount or dispute, your vote is stored in several places: in triplicate on the voting machine, on the printout from the voting machine, on the master PEB, and on computers at your local precinct and at election headquarters.

9. All records are destroyed according to state or local law after a specified number of days. Destruction is the final security check--it prevents the vote from being tampered with while it's in storage.

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