A Ball State program has taken a leading role in guaranteeing the security of future elections in Indiana and throughout the nation.

In the aftermath of Florida’s confusing vote count in the 2000 presidential election, legislators nationwide recognized a need for voting modernization. Between 2003 and 2006, the State of Indiana invested more than 70 million dollars of federal and state funds in new electronic voting systems.

Bringing together expertise

In 2006, the State of Indiana selected Ball State’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs for the first Voting System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) grant, bringing together expertise in elections, computing systems, and training. VSTOP provides recommendations and conducts research that assists the Secretary of State, Indiana Election Division, Indiana Election Commission and Indiana counties with technology issues related to voting systems and electronic poll books.

Led by faculty members Jay Bagga from computer science and Bryan Byers from criminal justice and criminology, VSTOP helped pioneer first-in-the-nation legislation authorizing the certification and testing of electronic poll books, currently in use in 62 Indiana counties. The project also created a database containing all election equipment used in Indiana as well as a report on the best practices of poll worker training.

Certification to enhance security practices and principles

As national discussions about voter election security and ballot integrity continues, VSTOP will help enhance Indiana’s election security readiness. This fall, Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced the creation of a new educational certificate in cyber security practices and principles.

Developed by VSTOP, the Certificate in Election Administration, Technology and Security, or CEATS, provides instruction on voting systems, information technology, security basics, and election law. The first CEATS program will includes representatives from 14 Indiana counties who will complete the certificate in the summer of 2019, with the second group following in August.

Learn more

Join us on February 11th at the Basile Theater in Indianapolis for “You’re Vote Counts: Election Security in the 21st Century,” a panel discussion with election administration and security experts, including Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who will engage in a moderated discussion about election security issues in Indiana and the United States. Sponsored by the Bowen Center for Public Affairs, the Voting System Technical Oversight Program, and the College of Sciences and Humanities.  Register Here

VSTOP is part of the Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State, directed by Charles Taylor of the Department of Political Science. Focusing on civic literacy, community involvement and public service, the Bowen Center provides networking, training, and research opportunities through its three institutes, the Bowen Institute on Political Participation, Institute for Public Service, and Institute for Policy Research.