AU professor to testify before Congress

Published: Jul 29, 2008 1:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Brittany Whitley,

Source: Opelika/Auburn News

Auburn University professor Dr. Juan Gilbert, creator of the Prime III voting system, will travel to Washington, D.C., Wednesday in hopes of securing funds for electronic voting research like his.
He will testify before the Committee on Rules and Administration and give testimony on the Bipartisan Electronic Voting Reform Act of 2008.

Prime III is an electronic voting system that is universal, meaning that anyone can use it.

"Prime III allows people to vote by touch and voice... People who can't see, hear, read or use their hands can use this system," he said.

Currently, some people with disabilities have to have someone vote with them or use a separate booth.

The system also has a function that independently verifies voting results, leaving a so-called electronic "paper-trail."

"People say we don't trust the machine, and we say we don't trust them, either," he said. "What Congress has done is said, Here is an approach we have not thought about," he said.

Gilbert said the proposed legislation, which gives and appropriates funds to voting technology research, is on point.

Daniel Castro, senior analysist at The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington, agreed.

"They (Congress) are actually spending time going out there and finding innovative systems," he said.

Funds have been allocated for voting research but never appropriated, he said.

"Hopefully, this time around, they will not only provide it, but direct it."

The Council for Independent Living in Birmingham, which promotes independent living for people with disabilities, used the system to vote for new board members a week ago.

"(People with a) wide range of disabilities were able to vote," said Dan Kessler, executive director of independent resources at the Council for Independent Living. "I think the research is great... every vote counts."