George Washington University computer science professor, Poorvi Vora, once said, “Brush your teeth. Eat your spinach. Audit your elections.”

This is the prevailing wisdom among researchers who were disappointed that the 2016 US presidential election results were not audited to confirm who won. However, there is a twist: the problem lies less with paper or computer-based election systems and more with legal and political obstacles.

“Auditability, or verifiability, of election outcomes is perhaps the most important security requirement for voting systems,” write authors Ronald L. Rivest of MIT and Philip B. Stark of the University of California, Berkeley.

Read more about the challenges faced by researchers in creating reliable voting systems in the May/June issue of IEEE Security & Privacy.