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Voting System Integrity: Can We Be Confident in the Accuracy of the Results?

Mon September 29, 2008 at AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center

The Center for Politics and Governance hosted a panel discussion, “Voting System Integrity:  Can We Be Confident in the Accuracy of the Results?” to examine .

The administration of voting and elections has changed rapidly at the state and local level since the 2000 presidential election.  Such changes include laws and procedures designed to ensure greater integrity and access in voting, more transparency in the process, and much closer scrutiny regarding the accuracy of voting systems.  At the federal level, the Help America Vote Act – the most sweeping election administration reform legislation in the nation’s history – was written in part to ensure more effective operation of voting systems.  But have these laws actually improved the functioning and operation of the myriad of voting systems used throughout the country today?  Is the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s authority to “certify and decertify” voting systems improving the accuracy of vote totals? Should the voting public feel more confident in the accuracy of voting systems today than in 2000?  In Texas – where most large counties utilize paperless electronic voting machines – what laws and regulatory requirements are in place to ensure the proper testing and use of electronic voting systems?  Should the Texas legislature follow the lead of other states, such as Florida and New Mexico, which have added statutory requirements that counties use paper-based voting systems?

These and other related issues wereexplored in this timely and relevant panel discussion.  Ray Martinez, adjunct professor of public affairs, moderated the panel, which included:

  • Rosemary Rodriguez, commissioner and current chair, U.S. Election Assistance Commission
  • Doug Chapin, director, (a division of the Pew Charitable Trusts and a national source for election law/policy news)
  • Dan Wallach, computer science professor at Rice University (well-known and outspoken critic of paperless electronic voting systems)
  • David Beirne, executive director, Election Technology Council (a national umbrella organization representing voting system vendors)
  • Ann McGeehan, director, Elections Division, Texas Secretary of State
  • Dana DeBeauvoir, Travis County Clerk (and LBJ School alumna)
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