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Streamlining Democracy

Story by Nancy Richison

ISE Associate Professor Ted Allen’s trailblazing research of voting systems has cast him in the national spotlight. He has appeared as a statistical expert witness in voting rights cases in Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico and Ohio. The Franklin County (Ohio) Board of Elections has tapped into Allen’s extensive knowledge to determine the number of voting machines needed to improve the Election Day experience in the Columbus area.

Allen, whose expertise extends to simulation optimization, big data analytics and cyber security, sees opportunities to transfer the same practical applications used for the voting experience to other arenas, including the Transportation Security Administration process at airports and on auto assembly lines.

The simulation software he has developed to predict problem voting areas is free and available to election officials.

In addition to leading the Security & Efficiency Analytics Laboratory (SEAL,, Allen is an inaugural member of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab (MEDSL). Alumni or others interested in contributing to reductions for in-person voting times or increasing access to voting, should contact Allen at or (614) 292-1793, and he will be happy to provide connections to projects and other resources.

Tags: Faculty