Making Democracy More Secure: Anonymized Vote Publication for Optional Verification by Voter

2 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2018 Last revised: 19 Apr 2018

Date Written: March 5, 2018


How do you know that your vote is counted correctly? With the recent news reports of Russian interference in elections in the US and other countries, the issue of ensuring that a voter can confirm that his or her vote is counted correctly and of ensuring that the results of an election reflect the intent of the voters has become the focus of greater attention. This paper proposes a simple idea to provide a voter with greater confidence in the relevant voting system. In many states one can vote by mail and the percentage of voters who vote by mail tends to increase over time. When a voter votes by mail, the voter can take a picture of his/her ballot. For voting systems that include a serial number on the ballot, a voter can (at the voter's option) also record the serial number. This paper proposes that election officials simply publish on a website a table showing the serial numbers for the ballots and the associated votes for those ballots - each row of the table would have a ballot serial number and the associated votes for that ballot. Then a voter could choose, solely at the voter’s option, to visit the website and check whether his/her vote was recorded correctly. This paper refers to this proposed approach as anonymized vote publication for optional verification (AVPOV).

Keywords: Vote Verification, Vote Integrity, Voter Turnout, Voter Confidence

JEL Classification: D70, D71, D72, D73, D80, D81, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Schulman, Charles Eric, Making Democracy More Secure: Anonymized Vote Publication for Optional Verification by Voter (March 5, 2018). Available at SSRN:

Charles Eric Schulman (Contact Author)

Fish & Richardson ( email )

Redwood City, CA

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