Voting Technology and Democracy
Author(s): Paul M. Schwartz
Abstract: Voting Technology and Democracy, 77 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 625 (2002), examines a phenomenon that I term the “voting-technology divide.” The “divide” was caused by the deployment of election technology in November 2000 with better and worse levels of feedback to voters. Through an analysis of data from the contested Florida election of November 2000, this article demonstrates the critical importance of feedback in informing voters whether the technology they use to vote will validate their ballots according to their intent — an advantage I find to have been distributed on unequal terms.
In this article, I also examine the various judicial opinions in the litigation following the Florida election and argue that they differed most dramatically in their embrace of competing epistemologies of technology. Finally, I evaluate the ongoing efforts to reform the unequal distribution of voting technology in the United States. Some efforts at litigation and legislation have promise, but in many instances they are stalled, and in many others they exhibit shortcomings that would leave the “voting technology divide” in place for future elections.
Keywords: voting-technology divide, feedback, data, election