New voting technology developed over the last 10 years has greatly improved the voting process in the United States, according to a recent California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) report. After the 2000 presidential election, Caltech and MIT researchers launched the Voting Technology Project (VTP) to develop ways to improve elections. VTP issued its first report in 2001. "Since that report came out and since our project was formed, a lot of progress has been made in improving how American elections are run," says Caltech professor Michael Alvarez. The researchers determined how many votes are lost during each election due to voting mistakes by calculating the number of residual votes, or the difference between the number of votes that are counted and the number of votes cast. In the 2001 report, the researchers found that older voting technology led to a high residual vote rate. However, new research shows that the residual vote rate dropped from two percent in 2000 to one percent in 2006 and 2008. "As we moved away from punch cards, lever machines, and paper ballots, and towards optical-scan systems and electronic systems that have voter verification, we have seen the voter residual rate plummet," Alvarez says.