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Electronic Voting Discussion (with Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility)

Track: BOF
Date: Thursday, July 29
Time: 9:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Columbia


Computerized voting machines, which accept and record votes electronically, have become commonplace in several countries and already been used in many elections, often leading to accusations of errors and irregularities. Proponents cite lower costs for elections, easier access for the blind and disabled, and elimination of hanging chads and other physical irregulaties. Critics point out that such systems contain glaring security holes in design and deployment. The risk looms of an election scandal dwarfing that surrounding the Florida presidential vote of 2000.

How have electronic votes fared, in the U.S. and elsewhere? How are the systems designed, what risks do these designs embody, and what measures can be taken to protect them from error and fraud? Do paper trails make such systems more secure? What can, and should, citizens do about the issue? How can technology-savvy professionals contribute?

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibilty, a grass-roots political organization, has explored the question of electronic voting deeply and intervened in many public debates (see http://www.cpsr.org/issues/voting.html). We take the position that voting systems should contain a voter-verifiable paper ballot and that the design and installation of the systems should be audited according to strict standards. Join us for discussion.

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