17-290 / 19-211 Computers and Society

Homework 6 - due April 12, 2007

1. Find information about two electronic voting system failures during a recent election. Explain what happened in each case. In what way did the system fail? How was the failure detected? What was the consequence of the failure (were votes permanently lost? election returns delayed? etc.)? How might similar failures be prevented in the future? [300 words maximum]

2. Explain why some people want to require that electronic voting machines have voter-verified paper trails. Explain why other people feel that requirement is not necessary. What is your opinion? Support your argument with citations to relevant sources. [300 words maximum]

3. Think into the future, to the Presidential elections in 2012.  There is a move to allow Internet voting as an additional choice for form of voting, similar to how postal votes are allowed (e.g., in Oregon).  Special software and trusted websites are developed, along with advanced cryptography to overcome all known security issues.  Give two points for and two points against this proposal, with appropriate citations or references.  Overall, what is your opinion, and why? Feel free to choose any timeframe for voting, or to discuss tradeoffs as desired.  E.g., should this be allowed over a number of days upto and including election day?  Or, just in advance or just on election days? [300 words maximum] 

[word limits are excluding references]

Debate question:

Internet based voting (based on Q3):  You are a citizens group representative debating for and against Internet Voting as described by Q3.