New voting system tackles voter fraud and other issues


Pratim Datta, Associate Professor of Management and Information System department, created a new online voting system. Photo by Yolanda Li.

Ada Marcantonio

Pratim Datta, associate professor of Information systems and supply chains, created the Voter Authentication and Recommender System or VARS, to help solve voting issues.

I wanted to build a secure, authenticated electronic voting process that can be retrofitted to any voting system that would offer voters a chance to practice informed democracy,” Datta said.

Some of the issues include voter fraud, absentee voter registration, lack of voter authentication and issues about voting based on party lines rather than on candidates and their position on issues.

He said VARS will work in two parts. The first part checks for voter fraud. The system will automatically cross check voters based on whether they are deceased or felons.

“The VARS system then asks the voters 3-5 simple yet confidential questions,” he said. “Once they respond correctly, the VARS system automatically retrieves their zip code and displays a fillable ballot for that specific zip code.”

This will remove the chance of falsifying residences and the worries of receiving the wrong ballot, he said. The voter can then fill in the ballot and cast their vote.

The second part of the VARS system is optional. The system will ask the voter if they need more information about candidates. Then they will be asked an additional 3-5 questions about the voter’s position on a certain topic.

“VARS will match voter positions to political candidates’ positions on the same issues. VARS uses an algorithm that will inform the voters on the position of all candidates,” he said. “VARS simply offers voters informed choice, especially useful for local elections.”

Datta said he hopes to receive venture capital funding to finish building the system and the try it out at a county or board-level election in northeastern Ohio.

“Once the prototype is refined, the plain is to increase the radius to the state and the hopefully, national or even international,” he said.

Contact Ada Marcantonio at [email protected].