Many jurisdictions will need to replace their voting systems in the next few years, but commercial voting systems currently in the marketplace are expensive to acquire and maintain and difficult to audit effectively. Elections may be verifiable in principle – if they generate a voter-verifiable paper trail that is curated well – but current systems make it unnecessarily hard or impractical to verify elections in practice.
Recent experience with open-source tabulation systems in risk-limiting audits in California and Colorado, and voting system projects in Los Angeles County, CA, and Travis County, TX, suggest that the United States could have voting systems that are accurate, usable, accessible, verifiable, efficiently auditable, reliable, secure, modular, and transparent, for a fraction of the cost of systems currently on the market. The key to reducing costs is to use commodity off-the-shelf hardware, open-source software, and open data standards, with usability and auditability designed in from the start.
The United States could have the best possible voting systems, instead of just the best voting systems money can buy, if new systems adhere to the Principles enunciated below.