E-voting state by state: What you need to know

Many Americans will head to the polls for November's midterm elections with less certainty than ever about how -- or whether -- their votes will be counted.

Two years after the controversy-plagued 2004 elections, four years after HAVA (the Help America Vote Act) was passed, and six years after the Supreme Court and America romanced the hanging chad, experts are bracing for yet another wave of challenges to regional vote-counting systems.

One-third of us will use voting machines that have never before served in a general election. Legal challenges to paperless DRE (direct-recording electronic) voting technologies are proliferating across the country, and as computer scientists demonstrated earlier this year, hacking challenges to many of these machines can bear fruit even faster than demands for recounts.

Election-reform watchdog groups haven't kept pace with the massive funding influx and official support that the move to electronic voting has experienced. (Nor, critics say, have they enjoyed the close relationships that exist between many of the e-voting suppliers and government officials in charge of framing the rules for the acquisition of such machines.) But watchdogs and critics have made good use of available resources, especially the Web and the blogosphere, to discuss their findings and keep the issue alive as HAVA implementation has lurched into place.

It's a lot to keep up with, especially since most of us would rather be thinking about who to vote for, not how we'll do it -- and certainly not about what might go wrong. To that end, Computerworld.com presents what you need to know for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. You'll find out what equipment and systems are in place for voter registration and polling, any significant legal challenges to the systems, previous Computerworld coverage of individual states, selected coverage from other media, and links to government watchdog sites. We've also got concise FAQ-style information on the vendors, technologies and laws that are important to the issue. Finally, since e-voting is beginning to attract attention in the culture at large, we've asked watchdog Brad Friedman to review one of the highest-profile projects on the horizon: the HBO documentary Hacking Democracy, premiering Nov. 2.

 Click the map to activate it, then select a region to find out more about e-voting in those states.
 (Note: This map requires Adobe Flash Player 6 or later. Text links are below.)


Computerworld appreciates the assistance of Electionline.org, a project of the Pew Charitable Trust, in the compilation of this project. We also read closely and highly recommend the joint survey from The Century Institute, the Common Cause Education Fund and The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund titled Voting in 2006: Have We Solved the Problems of 2004?;  NYU School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice's two remarkable 2006 studies, Making the List: Database Matching and Verification Processes for Voter Registration and The Machinery of Democracy: Voting System Security, Accessibility, Usability and Cost; and Election Law @ Moritz, a project of Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law.

See more about e-voting:

  •  Major players: The vendors
  •  Laws, lingo and technologies
  •  Review: Hacking Democracy
  •  Sound Off: Your comments on e-voting in 2006

Regional pages:

  •  Northeast
  •  Southeast
  •  Lake states
  •  Midwest
  •  Southwest
  •  West

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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