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Clemson University Develops Revolutionary Voting Software

In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, file photo, an Apple employee demonstrates the new iPad Mini in San Francisco. Apple began selling a new iPad Mini on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, without the usual fanfare.

CREDIT: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez.

The problems of long lines and lack of access at voting booths today are already inspiring Millennials to find tomorrow’s voting solutions.

A team at Clemson Universitywhich has already been chosen by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to establish a nationwide voter accessibility programhas developed secure voting software that they believe will bring a sorely needed update to an outmoded system.

The Premier Third Generation Voting Software, or “Prime III,” can be used on any computer, smartphone, or tablet—a system that adds a great deal of flexibility and can therefore improve accessibility.

The Clemson team was concerned by stories of polling place workers who were unfamiliar with how to accommodate voters with disabilities.

“Our goal was to create this software to build confidence in the manufacturers and to fix voting, to make it more accessible,” Prime III team leader and professor, Dr. Juan Gilbert said. “Our idea is that Prime III is one machine, one vote. Everyone votes on the same machine independent of their ability or disability.”

The Prime III system includes such features as an auditory setting for visually-impaired voters and the ability to set up scheduled voting times to alleviate long lines at the polls.

The Clemson team stressed security and transparency. After the vote has been cast, the system creates a printout of the ballot which can be recorded for auditing purposes. This presents an advantage over paperless systems that are in use in 16 states that cannot be audited manually.

Prime III will also be cheaper to install and operate than current systems in many states.

Clemson’s home state of South Carolina alone spent over $34 million on 11,400 iVotrinic voting machines, which is thousands of dollars more per machine than a typical tablet.

The Prime III system is scheduled to make its general use debut in Wisconsin this year.

Whitney Allen covers voting rights and civic engagement. Follow her on Twitter @abbyabroad.

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