On October 25, President Barack Obama returned to Chicago, Illinois, walking into the Martin Luther King Community Center in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood to cast his vote. Like about a third of American voters, he did so before Election Day. And also like many Americans, he used an electronic voting system — he submitted his ballot using a 15-inch touchscreen machine known as the Sequoia AVC Edge.

That seemingly minor detail holds significance for only the collection of computer scientists, security professionals, statisticians, and activists who've spent the last decade or so monitoring the seemingly inevitable rise of electronic voting machines. And they've been sounding the alarm, or at least cautioning that Americans ought to pay more attention to the way our votes are cast and counted. You've probably heard them recently, maybe sounding a little exasperated when quoted in publications as diverse as The Christian Science Monitor, Computerworld, and The Wall Street Journal. And depending on your long-term memory or Google skills, you might remember them speaking to The New York Times Magazine on the eve of the last election.