Voting Technology and Democracy

74 Pages Posted: 26 Sep 2002

See all articles by Paul M. Schwartz

Paul M. Schwartz

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law


Voting Technology and Democracy, 77 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 625 (2002), examines a phenomenon that I term the "voting-technology divide." The "divide" was caused by the deployment of election technology in November 2000 with better and worse levels of feedback to voters. Through an analysis of data from the contested Florida election of November 2000, this article demonstrates the critical importance of feedback in informing voters whether the technology they use to vote will validate their ballots according to their intent -- an advantage I find to have been distributed on unequal terms.

In this article, I also examine the various judicial opinions in the litigation following the Florida election and argue that they differed most dramatically in their embrace of competing epistemologies of technology. Finally, I evaluate the ongoing efforts to reform the unequal distribution of voting technology in the United States. Some efforts at litigation and legislation have promise, but in many instances they are stalled, and in many others they exhibit shortcomings that would leave the "voting technology divide" in place for future elections.

Suggested Citation

Schwartz, Paul M., Voting Technology and Democracy. Available at SSRN: or

Paul M. Schwartz (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Boalt Hall #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics