Making Every E-Vote Count

A noted cryptographer has a system that works

5 min read

With high-profile contests in Missouri, Montana, Virginia, and Wyoming decided on 7 November by margins as small as a few 10ths of 1 percent, the 2006 U.S. elections showed why many voters have feared their votes would not be accurately counted by electronic voting machines. Problems that day ranged far and wide—from touch screens that reportedly registered Democratic votes as Republican ones in Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, to electronic ballots in several New Jersey counties that were allegedly premarked for the Democratic Senate candidate.

In Virginia’s Senate race—the contest that, in the end, determined that the Democrats would control Congress for the next two years—poorly written software truncated the name of the winning candidate, James Webb, so that his surname did not appear on computer screens in three cities.

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How Police Exploited the Capitol Riot’s Digital Records

Forensic technology is powerful, but is it worth the privacy trade-offs?

11 min read
 Illustration of the silhouette of a person with upraised arm holding a cellphone in front of the U.S. Capitol building. Superimposed on the head is a green matrix, which represents data points used for facial recognition
Gabriel Zimmer

The group of well-dressed young men who gathered on the outskirts of Baltimore on the night of 5 January 2021 hardly looked like extremists. But the next day, prosecutors allege, they would all breach the United States Capitol during the deadly insurrection. Several would loot and destroy media equipment, and one would assault a policeman.

No strangers to protest, the men, members of the America First movement, diligently donned masks to obscure their faces. None boasted of their exploits on social media, and none of their friends or family would come forward to denounce them. But on 5 January, they made one piping hot, family-size mistake: They shared a pizza.

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