October 20, 2003
UCSC hosting a public forum on electronic voting
on Sunday, October 26
By Tim Stephens
Are election districts throughout the country adopting unreliable electronic
voting technology in a misguided effort to upgrade their voting systems?
This question will be addressed by a panel of speakers at a Forum on
Electronic Voting on Sunday, October 26, at UCSC.
The forum will take place from 12:30 to 5 p.m. in the Baskin Engineering
Building, Room 152, on the UCSC campus. Arthur Keller, visiting associate
professor of computer science at UCSC, will moderate the discussion.
The event is free and open to the general public.
The presidential election of 2000 introduced the term "hanging
chad" to the American vocabulary and highlighted the shortcomings
of punch-card voting systems. In response, the U.S. Congress passed
legislation aimed at replacing punch-card voting systems with more reliable
One result has been the widespread adoption of touch-screen voting
machines. But many computer scientists say these machines have serious
problems with respect to security, reliability, and accountability.
The forum at UCSC will present several perspectives on the current
controversy surrounding electronic voting systems. While many computer
scientists argue that the results from such systems are unverifiable
and vulnerable to tampering, some election officials seem unconcerned.
Part of the appeal of electronic voting machines is that they can enable
blind and disabled people to vote secretly. Tens of thousands of these
voting machines are now being deployed across the United States and
will be used to count about 40 percent of the votes in the 2004 presidential
Speakers at the forum will include:
David Dill, Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University
Warren Slocum, Chief Elections Officer, San Mateo County
Joe Simitian, California State Assemblymember, 21st District
Alan Dechert, Open Voting Consortium
League of Women Voters (tentative)
Several of the participants in the forum maintain web sites with information
relating to the issues that will be discussed, including Dill (http://www.verifiedvoting.org),
and the League of Women Voters (http://www.lwv.org).
The forum is sponsored by the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility,
the UCSC chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers,
and the UCSC chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery.
For more information about the forum, e-mail Robert
Kibrick. Information about the forum is also available on the web
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