Rebecca Mercuri, an international authority on electronic voting, will lecture at the University of Arizona on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 7: 30 p.m. in the Student Union Kiva Room. The lecture is sponsored by the Arizona Center for Information Science and Technology and the UA computer science department.
In 2004, nearly 30 percent of Americans voted on fully electronic equipment that offered no capability for independent recounts, and another 50 percent cast ballots tabulated by computer-based scanners. Other democratic nations, such as India and Venezuela, are turning to e-voting in unprecedented numbers.
Vendors and promoters of these systems have made promises of reliability, accuracy and accessibility. Yet there is a growing list of malfunctions resulting in irretrievable loss of vote data, usability issues including county-wide denial of service incidents and fraud allegations due to software substitutions.
This lecture will explore the vulnerabilities of electronic voting systems to insider and outsider attacks, and suggests some novel ways in which computers could be used to enhance transparency and confidence in the election process.
Mercuri is the originator of the "Mercuri Method" for voter-verified electronic voting. In her 14 years of research on electronic voting at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering, Mercuri has analyzed and observed elections, election data and election equipment as a scientist, poll-worker and committeewoman. She has written numerous papers on voting technology, as well as a quarterly column for "Security Watch" and frequent "Inside Risks" guest columns for the Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery. She also has given expert witness statements for a broad range of computer-related court proceedings, including Florida's Bush v. Gore case.
Mercuri's informative Web page on electronic voting www.notablesoftware.com/evote.html has been quoted in the Congressional Record and on the floor of the Irish Parliament, and she has provided formal comment to the House Science Committee, Federal Election Commission, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and UK Cabinet.
She continues to play a direct role in municipal, state, federal and international election legislation initiatives, and also serves as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers working group on Voting Systems Standards.