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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 15, 2005

Jones To Speak On Voting Technology At AAAS Feb. 18

Douglas Jones, associate professor of computer science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will speak Feb. 18 on "Keeping Electronic Voting Honest" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C.

Along with colleagues Ben Bederson of the University of Maryland, Rebecca Mercuri of Harvard University and Adam Stubblefield of Johns Hopkins University, Jones will discuss current technology and future prospects for electronic voting in the wake of the 2000 and 2004 elections.

In the case of the 2004 election, results in a dozen Florida counties showed that the millions of dollars spent on new voting equipment since 2000 sharply reduced the rate of spoiled ballots. Counties switching from punch cards to optical scanners had discard rates of about a quarter percent, compared to rates of around a half percent for some counties using touch-screens. The difference may be due to the fact that touch-screen layouts can sometimes confuse voters and need to be improved, says Jones, who has served as a consultant to the Dade County Elections Department.

He also testified in October 2004 before a Congressional Black Caucus hearing on election preparedness in Washington, D.C., telling the group that although there have been numerous changes in voting technology since 2000, the problems associated with the 2000 election were largely procedural and administrative, not technological. Consequently, the major promises of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 remain unfulfilled.

Jones, who has served for 10 years on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems, is an internationally recognized expert on election technology and is best known for his part in uncovering serious security flaws in some of the most widely used electronic voting systems. His numerous appearances include testifying before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission's hearings on Florida and the 2000 Election, the U.S. House Science Committee on the Help America Vote Act, and the Federal Election Commission on the 2002 draft voting system standards.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009, gary-galluzzo@uiowa.edu; Program: Douglas Jones, douglas-w-jones@uiowa.edu