electionlineWeekly — February 26, 2009
I. In Focus This Week
Scantegrity comes to Takoma Park
End-to-end system to be tested in April, used in November
By Kat Zambon
Takoma Park, Md. has long been considered a bastion of progressive thinking. The town is a nuclear-free
zone, the city, by statute, is forbidden to do business with the country of Burma (Myanmar), and residents
must apply for a city permit to cut down trees even on private property.
And the city’s progressive thinking doesn’t stop with environmental and social issues, it also extends to
elections. Takoma Park allows non-citizens to vote in local elections, uses instant-runoff voting and
recently, more than 20 election integrity advocates, poll workers and concerned citizens gathered at a
community center to discuss Scantegrity, an end-to-end voting system built on top of an optical scan
system that allows voters to confirm that their ballots were counted as cast after the election.
The November 2009 municipal elections in Takoma Park will mark the first time that Scantegrity is used
for a binding public election but first, it will be tested in a mock election on April 11 in conjunction with the
Takoma Park Arbor Day celebration.
Previously Scantegrity has been used in student government elections, according to Dr. Alan Sherman,
University of Maryland – Baltimore County computer science professor and Scantegrity contributor.
Scantegrity uses open source software and interested parties can examine the source code here.
After deciding how to vote, a voter using a Scantegrity ballot uses a special pen to darken the oval next to
their choice and the pen reveals a confirmation code in yellow. The voter can record the confirmation
code on a tear-off portion of the ballot or receipt with a serial number that the voter can take home.
After the election, the voter can go to a Web site and enter the serial number to ensure that the
confirmation code matches the code displayed, proving that the b