Computer Science Colloquium Series Wednesday, September 27, 2023

September 19, 2023

Department of Computer Science Colloquium Series 2023-2024

Title:  Special Assigned Leave Presentation:  Federal and State Certification of Election Equipment in United States – A Comprehensive History

Presented By:  Jay Bagga, Ph. D., Professor of Computer Science and Bryan Byers, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice and Criminology

When: Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Where:  RB353

In this presentation we report on a book writing project that began in Spring 2022-23 as a Special Assigned Leave project. We describe the activities completed and the current status. 

The goal of this project is to complete a book which incorporates a comprehensive account of federal and state certification requirements for election systems. The book will also include an overview of the history of elections in the USA and an account of reasons and factors that led to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 and its mandates. To ensure accurate descriptions of the state requirements and history, data about state certification laws and processes will be collected from state election directors, state election officials, and statutes. The book will discuss certification laws, policies, and procedures by region which include state-by-state specifics regarding certification. Each chapter covering a national region will address each state within that region. 

In the aftermath of the Bush v. Gore U.S. Presidential Election held in 2000, interest in elections, technology and security of elections and election systems, and administration of elections surged to new levels. This is compounded by the rapid transition to electronic voting systems mandated by the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA). New standards for certification of voting systems were developed and are constantly evolving. A good understanding of certification processes is a prerequisite for the perception and reality of election integrity and security and for building confidence and trust in election outcomes.

In Spring 2022-23 Dr. Bagga and Dr. Byers completed a comprehensive study of the topics to be included in the book, designed an outline of chapters, and created a table of contents.  At the same time, they also worked with Dr. Chad Kinsella, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs on a related project, which led to the authoring of a chapter on electronic poll books that has now been published in a book. 

Dr. Kinsella was invited to join this book project as a co-author. Several Chapters have been written and data collection from States is currently in progress. A book contract has now been signed with a leading publisher. The anticipated publication date of the book is Summer 2024.

Light refreshments will be served 

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