A systematization of voter registration security

Jack Cable, Andrés Fábrega, Sunoo Park, Michael A. Specter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voter registration is an essential part of almost any election process, and its security is a critical component of election security. Yet, despite notable compromises of voter registration systems, relatively little academic work has been devoted to securing voter registration systems, compared to research on other aspects of election security. In this paper, we present a systematic treatment of voter registration system security. We propose the first rigorous definitional framework for voter registration systems, describing the entities and core functionalities inherent in most voter registration systems, the jurisdictional policies that constrain specific implementations, and key security properties. Our definitions are configurable based on jurisdiction-specific parameters and policies. We provide a template for the structured presentation of detailed jurisdictional policy information, via a series of tables, and illustrate its application with detailed case studies of the voter registration systems of three US states and Panama. Throughout our research, with the aim of realism and practical applicability, we consulted current and former US election officials, civil society, and nonprofits in the elections space. We conclude with a list of critical questions regarding voter registration security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbertyad008
JournalJournal of Cybersecurity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • election security
  • systematization of knowledge
  • voter registration system security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Psychology
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Law


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