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CITP Seminar: Juan Gilbert – Can Voters Detect Ballot Manipulations with a Transparent Voting Machine?

Tuesday, March 30, 2021
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Video available here.

Touch-screen ballot-marking devices (BMDs) produce paper ballots that are counted by optical-scan voting machines and can be recounted by hand. If the BMD is hacked or misprogrammed so that it prints a different candidate selection than the voter indicated on the touchscreen, the voter is supposed to notice this; this is an essential protection against hacking and programming bugs. Recent studies have shown that, unfortunately, only a small fraction of voters read their paper ballot carefully enough to catch errors. That’s a problem, because errors printing the paper ballots cannot be caught by recounts. This talk will present a new design for ballot marking devices, the Transparent BMD, which uses a novel human-computer interaction (HCI) mode: it prints the ballot just where the voter is already looking–behind a transparent touchscreen–and deliberately directs the voter’s attention to the paper printout in just the right place. User studies on the prototype show a dramatically higher rate for voter detection of errors.


Dr. Juan E. Gilbert is the Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor and Chair of the Computer & Information Science & Engineering Department at the University of Florida where he leads the Human Experience Research Lab. He is also a fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Juan is the inventor of Prime III, an open source, secure and accessible voting technology that has been used in numerous organization elections and recently in statewide elections in New Hampshire and Butler County, Ohio. Prime III is the only open-source voting system to be used in state, local and federal elections. He was a member of the National Academies Committee on the Future of Voting: Accessible, Reliable, Verifiable Technology that produced the report titled, “Securing the Vote: Protecting American Democracy”.