Election Security Forum panel discussion: Future security in the N.C. election system

Friday, Nov. 1, 2019
3-5 p.m.
Gordon Gathering Hall, Reich College of Education Building, 151 College St.
This event is co-sponsored by the Departments of Computer Science and Government and Justice Studies at Appalachain State University.

This event is free and open to the public.

Public confidence in voting systems across the United States is vital for American democracy. During the past 20 years, we have faced increasing concerns about cybersecurity and possible attempts by hostile nations, criminals and political partisans to tamper with elections results. 99% of votes cast in 2020 will be counted either by the computerized voting machines on which the voters cast their ballots or by paper ballot scanners (which are computers).

Governments at the federal, state and local levels have invested to make these systems secure including a recent allocation from the Federal Government of $250 million dollars. In the past three months, controversy over aging election equipment and the North Carolina State Board of Elections’ certification of new voting equipment and replacement of aging equipment has made the news.

Questions this lecture will address:

  • How secure is our elections system? 
  • What are the real risks to the nation’s election infrastructure? 
  • What is the most secure equipment? 
  • What steps are being taken that will give us confidence about election security?

Three distinguished experts will participate in the Forum:

  • Dr. Duncan Buell is known nationally as an expert in election equipment security. Buell has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He previously taught computer science at LSU and worked on high performance computing and computational mathematics at the Institute for Defense Analyses in support of the National Security Agency. He is now a professor of Computer Science at the University of South Carolina and was chair of that department for 9 years. He has research interests in electronic voting, digital humanities, text analysis and computer science education. Recently, he was appointed to the Commission on Voter Registration and Elections of Richland County, South Carolina, home to Columbia S.C., state government and the University of South Carolina.
  • Bob Phillips is Executive Director of Common Cause in North Carolina (CCNC). Phillips’ work with Common Cause North Carolina includes his advocacy for voting rights, ending gerrymandering, lobbying and ethics reform and regulating big money politics. He also helped initiate CCNC’s outreach to North Carolina’s Historic Black Colleges and Universities, which seeks to boost civic engagement among young people of color. Within the last year, Common Cause has been the name plaintiff in landmark lawsuits successfully challenging North Carolina’s legislative and congressional maps for partisan gerrymandering. Phillips has been a leading witness in these lawsuits. For the past 20 years, he has worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to build bi-partisan support for elections and redistricting reform.
  • Dr. Stella Anderson is a professor in the Department of Management at Appalachian State University. Her Ph.D. is from Purdue University and her academic interests include work-life balance, leadership, management pedagogy and organizational citizenship behavior. She was a member of the Watauga County Election Board from 2005-13 and was appointed to the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement in March, 2018, and then to the reconstituted North Carolina State Board of Elections in January, 2019.

This two-hour Election Security Forum will include statements from these three experts followed by a question-and-answer session moderated by Dr. Ray Russell, associate professor of Computer Science at Appalachian State University and House Representative for the 93rd District (Ashe and Watauga Counties).


About the Department of Computer Science
Appalachian’s Department of Computer Science provides a rigorous, high-quality education that prepares students for the computing industry or graduate education. It offers a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, which is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, and a Master of Science degree in computer science. Learn more at https://compsci.appstate.edu.

About the Department of Government and Justice Studies
Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies offers undergraduate programs in political science and criminal justice, and graduate programs in political science and public administration. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the department has over 600 undergraduate majors and more than 70 graduate students. Learn more at https://gjs.appstate.edu.

A hand placing a ballot in a box. Stock image.
Published: Oct 22, 2019 9:01am