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Adventures in Electronic Voting Research - July 18, 2011

It is our pleasure to host this distinguished lecture by Prof. Dan Wallach, Rice University, Houston. The lecture will be followed by a reception. Please feel free to forward this invitation

Date:  July 18, 2011
Time:  16:30
Venue:  Salle Paul Feidert, Campus Kirchberg

Abstract: In elections employing electronic voting machines, we have observed that poor procedures, equipment failures, and honest mistakes pose a real threat to the accuracy of the final tally. The event logs kept by these machines can give auditors clues as to the causes of anomalies and inconsistencies; however, each voting machine is trusted to keep its own audit and ballot data, making the record unreliable. If a machine is damaged, accidentally erased, or otherwise compromised during the election, we have no way to detect tampering or loss of auditing records and cast votes. This talk begins with our experiences in real elections where we have observed these issues in the field, including a disputed primary election in Laredo, Texas as well as the Congressional election in Sarasota, Florida.  These issues motivate a new design for a voting architecture we call "VoteBox" which networks the voting machines in a polling place, allowing for replicated, timeline-entangled logs which can survive malice and malfunction to provide a verifiable audit of election-day events.

Prof. Dan Wallach is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas and is the acting director of NSF's ACCURATE (A Center for Correct, Usable, Reliable, Auditable and Transparent Elections).  His research involves computer security and the issues of building secure and robust software systems for the Internet.  He has testified about voting security issues before government bodies in the U.S., Mexico, and the European Union, has served as an expert witness in a number of voting technology lawsuits, and has participated in California's "top-to-bottom" audit of its voting systems.