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Lehigh to host public forum on e-voting

Daniel Lopresti

Lehigh will host a public panel titled “The E-voting Controversy: What are the Risks?” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19th, in Maginnes Hall, Room 102.

Featured will be a roster of speakers with various perspectives on the topic of electronic voting machines, which will be making their debut throughout the state in Pennsylvania’s upcoming primary on May 16.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the university’s department of computer science and engineering.

“Voters who go to the polls in the upcoming primary have had decades of experience with the old, lever-style machines, but not with new electronic voting machines,” says Daniel Lopresti, an associate professor in Lehigh University’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science and a noted computer security expert.

“What they have heard, though, are reports of various concerns and problems associated with these machines, and we’re looking forward to hearing a variety of viewpoints and encourage a broad discussion of the risks and vulnerabilities. Ultimately, we hope to initiate the kind of public debate that helps move us toward safe, secure and transparent voting systems that inspire voter confidence.”

Lopresti, who will address the technical concerns associated with e-voting on the panel, will be joined by a variety of other speakers, including:

Hannah Stewart-Gambino, professor of political science at Lehigh, director of the university’s Global Citizenship program, and co-founder of Lehigh’s Community Fellows program, who will serve as moderator.

Steve Freeman, lecturer and scholar from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Organizational Dynamics and author of the forthcoming book, “Was the 2004 Election Stolen: Exit Polls, Fraud and the Official Count.” Freeman is expected to discuss his book, which provides a statistical analysis of both the exit polling and official count in the 2004 presidential election.

Bob Freeman, Pennsylvania State Representative from Easton, and co-sponsor of H.B. 2000 that would require a Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

Christopher Borick, associate professor of political science at Muhlenberg College, and director of Muhlenberg’s Institute of Public Opinion. Borick will address the impact e-voting could have on state and national politics.

Mary Ann Gould, an expert on managing change in corporate and private sectors and co-founder of the statewide, Bucks County-based non-partisan Coalition for Voting Integrity. Gould will address grassroots opposition to unverifiable electronic voting machines.

Presentations by the panel will be followed by a question and answer session, Lopresti said.

For more information about the panel, call the Lehigh University Department of Computer Science and Engineering at (610) 758-3099.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006

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