Government Technology

David Macdonald: Alameda County Information Technology Director Tracks Ballots with RFID



March 3, 2009 By

After an election, it's not unusual for a few voting irregularities to pop up that leave observers scratching their heads. Even more frustrating to voters are the dumbfounded looks on the faces of election officials when these problems happen.

Many officials who struggled in 2008 will likely look to a man with much more of a clue on the matter -- David Macdonald, IT director and registrar of voters in Alameda County, Calif. In 2007, Macdonald implemented a radio-frequency identification (RFID) paper-ballot tracking system, aimed at avoiding some of the ballot-tampering problems that have plagued other counties.

Whenever a ballot box changes hands, someone should record the exchange on paper, which election workers often forget to do, Macdonald said.

"We have 831 polling places with almost 6,000 poll workers. That guarantees someone's going to forget something," Macdonald said. Gaps in the chain-of-custody record raise suspicions about potential monkey business.

To alleviate those concerns, Alameda County attaches an RFID tag to each box of paper ballots on Election Day. Memory packs that contain the ballot totals for each box -- therefore allowing for cross checking -- also receive RFID tags.

"The project has worked magnificently well. It allows us to identify early on if something is missing on Election Day," Macdonald said.


| More

Comments

Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Redefining Citizen Engagement in a Mobile-First World
Today’s consumers are embracing the ease and convenience of anytime, anywhere access to the Internet from their mobile devices. In order for government and public sector organizations to fully engage with their citizens and provide similar service quality as their consumer counterparts, the time is now to shift to mobile citizen engagement. Learn more
McAfee Enterprise Security Manager and Threat Intelligence Exchange
As a part of the Intel® Security product offering, McAfee® Enterprise Security Manager and McAfee Threat Intelligence Exchange work together to provide organizations with exactly what they need to fight advanced threats. You get the situational awareness, actionable intelligence, and instantaneous speed to immediately identify, respond to, and proactively neutralize threats in just milliseconds.
Better security. Better government.
Powering security at all levels of government with simpler, more connected IT.
View All

Featured Papers