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Effective audit policy for voter-verified paper ballots Andrew W. Appel

Summary: Effective audit policy for voter-verified paper ballots
Andrew W. Appel
Center for Information Technology Policy & Department of Computer Science
Princeton University
September 1, 2007
Scientists and politicians are reaching consensus that elections must be countable indepen-
dently of the need to trust the computer software in a DRE voting machine or in an optical
scanner. Public trust in elections requires a Voter-Verified Paper Ballot (VVPB), printed by a
DRE or scanned by a scanner. But producing the VVPBs is not enough; to do any good they
must also be audited. A recount of 1% of randomly selected precincts (as performed in some
states) is not sufficient to detect fraud with high confidence, except in statewide races. A re-
count of 5% would be barely adequate, but would be quite expensive. I propose a new statutory
framework that will be as affordable as a 1% recount but more effective than a 5% recount. It
requires a mandatory audit of 1% of precincts, and permits any candidate to demand (and pay
actual costs for) an audit of up to 7 precincts. The rule of 1%+7 will give high confidence for
both large and small elections.
1 Introduction
Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines contain general-purpose computer chips that
are programmed to count votes. Studies have shown [16, 1, 8, 9, 4, 11, 3, 2] that it is not difficult


Source: Appel, Andrew W. - Department of Computer Science, Princeton University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences