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Building Secure and Transparent Elections through Standard Operating Procedures

Authors

  • R. Michael Alvarez,

    Corresponding author
    1. California Institute of Technology
      R. Michael Alvarez is a professor of political science at Caltech.
      E-mail: alvarez.research@gmail.com
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  • Thad E. Hall

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Utah
      Thad E. Hall is an assistant professor and research fellow in the Institute of Public and International Affairs at the University of Utah. Together, he and Alvarez have coauthored the books Electronic Elections, The Perils and Promise of Electronic Voting, and Point Click and Vote: The Future of Internet Voting. They also coedited the volume Election Fraud Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation with Susan Hyde. They have coauthored articles on voter confidence, election governance, voter registration, and election management.
      E-mail: thadhall@gmail.com
    Search for more papers by this author

R. Michael Alvarez is a professor of political science at Caltech.
E-mail: alvarez.research@gmail.com

Thad E. Hall is an assistant professor and research fellow in the Institute of Public and International Affairs at the University of Utah. Together, he and Alvarez have coauthored the books Electronic Elections, The Perils and Promise of Electronic Voting, and Point Click and Vote: The Future of Internet Voting. They also coedited the volume Election Fraud Detecting and Deterring Electoral Manipulation with Susan Hyde. They have coauthored articles on voter confidence, election governance, voter registration, and election management.
E-mail: thadhall@gmail.com

Abstract

Election reform has evolved since the 2000 presidential election. One issue that has remained at the forefront of public debate is how to build confidence in the election process. The foundation for confidence is based on procedures for electoral security and transparency. In this article, the authors use legal theories of evidence and public administration theories related to standard operating procedures to consider how election fraud—and claims of fraud—can be prevented by having effective and rigorous chain of custody procedures. Using case studies, they show how such chains of custody can be implemented and examine which states have processes and procedures that promote the transparency that is critical for public examination of the electoral process. They conclude with a consideration of best practices in this area.

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