NC State University

Department of Computer Science Colloquia 2003-2004

Date:   Thursday, November 13, 2003
Time:   Room 402A Withers, NCSU Historical Campus
Place:   4:00 (Talk) (click for courtesy parking request)

Speaker:   Rebecca Mercuri , John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

A Better Ballot Box?

Abstract:   The 2000 Presidential election demonstrated major difficulties in the democratic process of counting votes. Proponents of electronic and web-based voting systems are quick to criticize punch cards and lever machines as being slow and antiquated. Yet numerous studies, including recent data from the California recall election, has revealed that many new computer-based systems are inferior to older mechanical and manual technologies. Furthermore, some electronic systems may compromise voter privacy and recount capability, a fact that many vendors and election officials do not want voters to know. This talk will explain these issues, present some of the technical challenges, and offer numerous solutions for improving the balloting process.

Short Bio:   Rebecca Mercuri is internationally recognized as one of the leading experts on electronic voting. Her 14 years of research on this subject include her present affiliation with Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and prior work at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering. Writings include over two dozen technical papers on computer security and electronic voting, and sworn testimony for Congressional, State, and Municipal hearings as well as expert witness statements for court proceedings. Dr. Mercuri has observed elections as a scientist, poll-worker, and committeewoman in various US States, and has provided formal comment on voting technology to the House Science Committee, Federal Election Commission and the UK Cabinet.

Host:   Edward Gehringer, Computer Science, NCSU

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