A team of researchers has designed a mobile voting system optimised for a smart phone and tested its usability against traditional voting platforms.
"Current electronic voting systems have numerous issues from usability and accessibility to security to the fact that many of them are nearing the end of their life cycle and there are few good certified alternatives currently on the market," said Michael Byrne, Professor of Psychology and Computer Science at Texas-based Rice University.
They asked 84 participants with a diverse range of voting histories and educational backgrounds to engage in a series of mock elections using different voting methods.
Although the study found no reliable differences between the smart phone-based system and other voting methods in efficiency and perceived usability, smart phone owners committed fewer errors on the mobile voting system than on the traditional voting systems.
According to Byrne, there are numerous potential advantages to using a smart phone-based system. Mobile voting offers the opportunity to cast votes when and where it is convenient for the voter.
"However, making this work as an anywhere, anytime system requires solving a substantial number of serious security and authentication problems that may not be solvable, and certainly not in the near term," explained Byrne.
Ongoing research is needed to develop systems that allow voters to securely and anonymously submit their ballots.
"There may be compromise solutions that involve the mobile user interface that do not have the same security requirements, though they would not be as convenient," added Byrne in the study published in the journal Human Factors.