Secretary of State Lawson: Ball State plays key role in protecting integrity of voting

Topic: Miller College of Business

June 13, 2012

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson will emphasize that state government is fully committed to protecting the integrity of the voting process through a partnership with Ball State University when she addresses a national conference June 14.
 
The second national conference on State Certification Testing of Voting Systems, sponsored by Ball State and its Bowen Center for Public Affairs, will bring many of the nation's leading academic and professional experts in the field to the Ball State Indianapolis Center, 50 S. Meridian St., on June 14-15.
 
The primary goal of the conference is to provide a venue for participants to share best practices, explore more efficient and effective methods of testing voting systems, and identify common challenges and potential mitigations.
 
As secretary of state, Lawson oversees the Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) administered by the Bowen Center since 2008. Indiana is one of the first states in the nation to begin development of a state-level testing program in coordination with technical experts in this area.
 
"Ball State has proven to be an efficient and reliable tester of voting systems," Lawson said. "Its seal of approval on voting equipment gives voters and administrators confidence in the integrity of the election process. A solid and reliable election process is the foundation to ensuring the public's confidence in its government and leaders. Voters deserve to know their vote is accurately recorded and their voices are heard."
 
Under Ball State's direction, VSTOP assists in developing procedures and standards for training and security of voting systems, reviews the independent testing laboratory reports submitted by vendors to provide technical assistance to the Indiana Election Commission in reviewing voting system certification applications, compiles detailed information regarding voting systems and their use in Indiana, and conducts periodic inventory audits.
 
VSTOP also is a source to identify and publicize best practices for county voting system purchasing contracts and to develop quantity purchase agreements to secure the best possible terms for counties buying certified voting systems.
 
Ray Scheele, Bowen Center co-director, said a secondary goal of the conference is to improve the quantity and quality of information that flows between the state, county, township and federal testing entities.
 
"We are conducting the conference 10 years after the implementation of the Help America Vote Act, which was mandated at least in part as a response to the controversy surrounding the 2000 U.S. presidential election," Scheele said. "Our job is to test electronic voting systems so that we may never have such a problem again. The conference will allow us to share information and learn how to make the voting process simpler and more efficient."

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