Universities Study Psychology Component of E-Voting

Even as more and more Americans are using e-voting in elections, researchers are studying ways to make electronic voting secure. The National Science Foundation awarded $7.5 million to six institutions, including Rice University, to study the matter.

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Rice University Psychology Assistant Professor Michael Byrne says not much research exists about human factors in voting... that is how humans interact with different voting mechanisms. Byrne's part of the research will look at the efficiency and effectiveness of traditional ways of voting, such as paper ballots and punch cards. This information will be applied to the new technologies being developed for electronic voting.

Byrne says they want to find out how people interact with voting machines, which may have an impact on voter turn-out. But that's not known at this point.

Last year, 29 percent of U.S. voters used electronic voting machines and that number is expected to grow even as security questions linger. Researchers plan to share results of the project with the leading manufacturers of voting machines.

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