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Internet voting in the U.S.
Simons B., Jones D. Communications of the ACM55 (10):68-77,2012.Type:Article
Date Reviewed: Feb 4 2013

The pros and cons of using the capabilities of the Internet to vote in elections are broadly addressed in this lengthy article. Topics include the many varieties of Internet voting means, situations, and environments. As the title suggests, the focus is mostly on US voters, but some attention is given to Internet voting experiences and projects in other nations. The authors cite only 40 of the 45 references in their bibliography. The article has a total of two images (one of a ballot and one of a web page) and no tables.

The article consists of seven major sections. The first section has no heading, but serves as both introduction and overview; it has four subsections. The first subsection has no heading; the other three subsections are “D.C. Pilot Test,” “The Break-In,” and “Implications of the Attack.” The six other sections discuss the pros and cons, and provide more detail about the underlying topics introduced in the first section.

Section 2, “The Case for Internet Voting,” has four subsections. Again, the first has no heading, followed by three pro positions: “Saves Money,” “Increases Turnout,” and “Web-Based Voting Is More Secure.” The third section addresses military voting in four subsections, focusing on the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment (SERVE), Operation BRAVO (Bring Remote Access to Voters Overseas), and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE).

Section 4 considers risks in seven areas: the server; insider attacks; the client, with coverage of Conflicker and the Zeus virus; election server impersonations; denial-of-service (DoS) attacks; ballot secrecy; and bribery. A brief fifth section--a single paragraph--discusses issues in other countries, although there are related comments scattered throughout the rest of the article. Section 6, “Far Future,” notes that the time for Internet voting “has not yet come.” The last section presents the authors’ conclusions and a short summary of the article’s basic contributions.

Readers attracted to the general topic of online voting will find interesting details throughout this lengthy article. Section 4 will probably be the most interesting and rewarding for most readers.

Reviewer:  Ned Chapin Review #: CR140903 (1305-0436)
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