Evaluating New Technology for Equitable and Secure Voter Verification

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. He leads the Computing for Social Good Lab, where Jasmine McKenzie, Alaina Smith and London Thompson are PhD students. Shutterstock Elections are the bedrock of democracy. As such, access to voting is essential; however, there have been severe challenges over the decades to voting access for people of color, those with disabilities and other marginalized groups in the United States. One of those challenges revolves around the verification of voter eligibility. New technologies may present solutions to this problem, but substantial research is necessary to verify the efficacy and address the downsides of any new tools and techniques that determine who has access to the franchise. Essentially, voter verification determines who has access to vote. Voter verification methods vary across the U.S. by state. Each state requires some form of identification to register and vote. These requirements have often served as tools to disenfranchise communities of color.  For example, in Texas, a pistol license granted by the Department of Public Safety is an acceptable form of voter identification (ID); however, a student ID from a Texas public university is not. A driver’s license is the primary form of voter identification in most states; however, voters of color and the elderly may use public transportation and may not have a state-issued driver’s license. These disparities in state criteria have the effect of disenfranchising…Evaluating New Technology for Equitable and Secure Voter Verification