Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has spent more than a decade working with researchers and computer security experts to design a voting machine that’s more secure and reliable. This massive undertaking resulted in the Secure, Transparent, Auditable, and Reliable Voting System, or STAR-Vote. But getting manufacturers to build it has been a challenge. … When Houston first floated the idea of switching to DREs in 2001, it caught Dan Wallach’s attention. He urged city leaders not to ditch paper ballots. “My message then was: These are just computers,” says Wallach, a professor in the department of computer science at Rice University, “and computers are hackable.”
… Philip Stark, the associate dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at University of California-Berkeley, helped with the design. He says this is why it was important to bring computer scientists and researchers to the table.
“The electronic side of STAR-Vote is pretty complicated and pretty cool – using cryptographic methods to allow voters to confirm that their vote ultimately was recorded and ultimately included in the total correctly,” he says. “So, I call this a ‘belt and suspenders’ model for election integrity.”
Combined with an easier design of what voters actually interact with on these machines, STAR-Vote became something that election officials like DeBeauvoir and Wallach could agree on. “I wish that happened every day, but it doesn’t,” Wallach says.