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Workshop to Aim for Security, Accessibility in Future Voting Systems

For Immediate Release: June 30, 2009

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Contact: Chad Boutin

Creating voting machines that are both trustworthy and easy to use is the goal of the End-to-End Voting Systems Workshop, which should interest anyone concerned with ensuring that elections are run fairly, smoothly and with verifiable results.

The idea behind “end-to-end” systems is that voting machines generate proof that all votes cast in an election were properly counted, according to Andrew Regenscheid of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The workshop, organized by NIST, will be held Oct. 13 and 14 at George Washington University’s Cloyd Heck Marvin Center in Washington, D.C. According to Regenscheid, the gathering is intended to encourage future research in the field of voting system design—with an emphasis on making end-to-end voting systems accessible to voters and poll workers.

“Many end-to-end voting systems have been designed, but the few working prototypes are often difficult to use and understand,” says Regenscheid, who is part of the voting team within NIST’s Computer Security Division. “We expect many experts from the cryptography and computer security communities, but we’re trying to get usability and accessibility experts involved as well.”

Regenscheid added that end-to-end systems have been used in small-scale elections, and the city of Takoma Park, Md., is planning to use one such system in their 2009 municipal election.

Key issues concerning end-to-end systems, such as how security and usability will interact, will be discussed by presenters, who are invited to submit papers by Aug. 2, 2009 at e2e@nist.gov. Speakers will be selected by Aug. 30. Further information about the workshop can be found at www.csrc.nist.gov/groups/ST/e2evoting/index.html.