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Effective Use of Computing Technology in Vote-Tallying



Roy Saltman


The results of a systems analysis and evaluation conducted on the role of automatic digital processing in vote-tallying are presented. Included in the report are descriptions of hardware, software, and administrative problems encountered in fourteen elections in which electronic computing technology was utilized. Methods of assuring more confidence in the accuracy and security of the vote-tallying process are presented and described. These methods include aids to audits of calculations, physical controls over ballots and computer records, and guidelines for the use of computer programs, computer facilities, and teleprocessing. Methods of improving the election preparation process also are presented and described. These involve the development and implementation of design specifications and acceptance tests for computer programs, election equipment and supplies, and guidelines for pre-election checkout of vote-tallying systems and for assurance of management control. Institutional factors are discussed which should be considered if improved accuracy and security controls and more effective election preparations are to be implemented. Recommendations for additional research and other activities including a possible Federal role are provided.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 500-30
Report Number


computer security, computing technology, election administration, public administration, state and local government, systems analysis, technology utilization, vote-tallying


Saltman, R. (1978), Effective Use of Computing Technology in Vote-Tallying, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 25, 2024)


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Created April 1, 1978, Updated November 10, 2018