Why getting voting right is hard, Part V: DREs (spoiler: they’re bad)

This is the fifth post in my series on voting systems catch up on parts I II III and IV focusing on computerized voting machines. The technical term for these is Direct Recording Electronic DRE voting systems but in practice what this means is that you vote on some kind of computer typically using a touch screen interface. As with precinct-count optical scan the machine produces a total count typically recorded on a memory card printed out on a paper receipt-like tape or both. These can be sent back to election headquarters together with the ballots where they are aggregated.

One of the major selling points of DREs is accessibility paper ballots are difficult for people with a number of disabilities to access without assistance. At least in principle DREs can be made more accessible for instance fitted with audio interfaces sip-puff devices etc. Another advantage of DREs is that they scale better to multiple languages you of course still have to encode ballot definitions in each new language but you don8217t need to worry about whether you8217ve printed enough ballot in any given language1.


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