Event Announcement: Election Security Forum

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Event Announcement: Election Security Forum




Appalachian State University

Department of Computer Science and Department of Government and Justice Studies

Contact: Dr. Ray Russell

Phone: 828.773.6285

Email: russellcr@appstate.edu

October 21, 2019


Event Announcement: Election Security Forum

Date: November 1, 2019

Time: 3-5 PM

Place: Gordon Gathering Hall, Reich College of Education Building

Appalachian State University, 151 College St., Boone, NC

Public confidence in voting systems across the United States is vital for American democracy. During the past 20 years, the country faces increasing concerns about cybersecurity and possible attempts by hostile nations, criminals, and political partisans to tamper with elections results. Ninety-nine percent of votes cast in 2020 will be counted either by the computerized voting machines on which the voters cast their ballots or by paper ballot scanners (which are computers).

Governments at the federal, state, and local levels have invested much to make these systems secure, including a recent allocation from the Federal Government of $250 million. In the past three months, controversy over aging election equipment and the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ certification of new voting equipment and replacement of aging equipment has made the news.

How secure is our elections system? What are the real risks to the nation’s election infrastructure? What is the most secure equipment? What steps are being taken that will give us confidence about election security?

These and other questions will be the topic of an Election Security Forum held on Nov. 1, 2019, from 3-5 PM at the Gordon Gathering Hall, Reich College of Education Building, 151 College St., Boone. The event is co-sponsored by the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Government and Justice Studies.

Three distinguished experts will participate in the Forum:

  • Duncan Buell is known nationally as an expert in election equipment security. Dr. Buell has a PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He previously taught computer science at LSU and worked on high performance computing and computational mathematics at the Institute for Defense Analyses in support of the National Security Agency. He is now a Professor of Computer Science at the University of South Carolina and was chair of that department for nine years. He has research interests in electronic voting, digital humanities, text analysis, and computer science education. Recently, he was appointed to the Commission on Voter Registration and Elections of Richland County, home to Columbia, SC, state government, and the University of South Carolina.
  • Bob Phillips is Executive Director of Common Cause North Carolina (CCNC). Mr. Phillips’ work with CCNC include his advocacy for voting rights, ending gerrymandering, lobbying and ethics reform and regulating big money politics. He also helped initiate CCNC’s outreach to North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which seeks to boost civic engagement among young people of color. Within the last year, Common Cause has been the name plaintiff in landmark lawsuits successfully challenging North Carolina’s legislative and congressional maps for partisan gerrymandering. Mr. Phillips has been a leading witness in these lawsuits. For the past 20 years, he has worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to build bi-partisan support for elections and redistricting reform.
  • Stella Anderson is a Professor in the Department of Management at Appalachian State University. Her PhD is from Purdue University and her academic interests include work-life balance, leadership, management pedagogy, and organizational citizenship behavior. She was a member of the Watauga County Board Elections 2005-2013 and was appointed to the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement in March 2018, and then to the reconstituted North Carolina State Board of Elections in January 2019.

The two-hour Election Security Forum will include statements from these three experts followed by a Question-and-Answer session moderated by Dr. Ray Russell, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Appalachian State University and House Representative for the 93rd District (Ashe and Watauga Counties).

All of the Appalachian State University community (students, faculty, and staff) and the general public are invited to attend this lively, important, and timely discussion.