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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Technology and Society Forum at New Jersey Institute of Technology Addresses Perils of E-Voting Technology

“Can technology be used to steal the 2004 presidential election?” asked Jay M. Kappraff, PhD., associate professor of mathematics, at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).  Kappraff, who leads a faculty group authorized to create the university’s new lecture series, has invited two well-known speakers to address this important issue.

Electronic voting expert, Rebecca Mercuri, PhD, and New York City Board of Elections Commissioner Douglas Kellner, an attorney, will explore this possibility at the first of NJIT’s forums on Sept. 23, 2004, 4-5:30 p.m., second floor ballroom of the new Campus Center.

“In the rush to solve the problems that emerged in Florida during the 2000 election dispute, electronic voting systems have been deployed in unprecedented numbers throughout the country,” said Kappraff.   “Mercuri and Kellner will discuss how the vulnerabilities of these systems to insider and outsider attacks create new opportunities for large scale vote fraud in the 2004 election and beyond.”

Mercuri became an overnight celebrity during the media frenzy that ensued when the 2000 US presidential election ended in a dead heat. Mercuri gave testimony to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Bush v. Gore court case and has since provided her expertise to US congressional committees and to the British government.  A former research fellow at the Kennedy School for Government, Mercuri is a fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.  She writes a quarterly column "Security Watch" for the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (www.notablesoftware.com).

Kellner is the Democratic elections commissioner from Manhattan, having served on the NYC Board of Elections since 1993. Although he has opposed the replacement of NYC lever voting machines with electronic voting machines, he has promoted new technology for scanning absentee and provisional ballots. In their September 23rd NJIT presentation, both Kellner and Mercuri will suggest positive alternatives to the current e-voting technology.

The Fall 2004 NJIT Technology and Society Forum Series explores the connections between the focused technological expertise that students study in the classroom and the real-world geo-political issues that affect the quality of human life. Each event is designed to open further conversation between the experts and the audience about the social implications of cutting-edge technologies. Coming up on Oct. 18, Ira Black, MD, will discuss how new developments in his stem cell research point toward future cures for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, and birth defects. Physicist Freeman Dyson, PhD, of the Institute for Advance Studies, Princeton, will explore Nov. 10,  the ramifications of genetic engineering. The forums for the fall semester conclude in December with a concert featuring musical groups from the four neighboring Newark colleges: NJIT, Rutgers-Newark, Essex Community College, and UMDNJ.

The NJIT Technology and Society Forum is open to the public

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.