Slow Blogging Through New Year’s Day/AALS Panels

With grading, family travel and holidays, expect less frequent updates from me through New Year’s.  Updates to the listserv also will be intermittent.  For those of you in DC attending the AALS annual conference, I’ll be speaking on January 5 on two panels:

9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Crosscutting Program – The Law and Science of Trustworthy Elections: Facing the Challenges of Internet Voting and Other E-Voting Technologies
The Law and Science of Trustworthy Elections: Facing the Challenges of Internet Voting and Other E-Voting Technologies

1:30 – 2:45 PM

Blogs and Social Media

Concurrent Session (Communications Track)

Details of each program below the fold.

Session Details
In the heated 2012 presidential election cycle, most Americans will cast primary and general election ballots on aging computer-based voting systems whose designs date to the early 2000s.    States have also moved rapidly to allow internet transmission of voted ballots.  At least 33 States now permit email, e-fax, or other internet voting methods for overseas absentee voters, both civilian and military.  Some states have seen proposals to extend online balloting options to all voters.


Premier computer scientists have evaluated both precinct-based and internet electronic voting methods.  Their scientific assessments identified seriously flawed software and revealed the ease of tampering (even by hackers with little expertise), but those findings have had little effect on the technology in use.  States that produced 170 electoral votes in 2008 made exclusive or widespread use of the voting equipment that has received most criticism and is easiest to manipulate in ways that may be undetectable. Substantial portions of the U.S. Senate and House are elected from those jurisdictions.  In recent years, states that planned to purchase more secure voting devices postponed the change because of fiscal pressures.

This Program seeks to bridge the understandings of security, risk, and public values between computer scientists and legal academics, and to facilitate new scholarship by law professors that will address persistent regulatory and legal issues. Three panels will explore distinct sets of issues.


In Part I, distinguished computer scientists known for translating complex science into comprehensible insights for policymakers will provide an overview of the ways in which computers have been integrated into the election process.  They will explain the types of design flaws that can cause serious problems in election results and the safeguards their field considers essential to assuring that votes are recorded and counted accurately.  Examples of voting devices will be present.


Part II will present three papers on internet voting and its regulation.  Two law professors will present critical studies of a pilot project and federal agency activities that sought to establish that the internet can transmit voted ballots securely in accordance with laws requiring accuracy and ballot secrecy.  A computer science professor will explain the lessons of the District of Columbia internet voting public test in 2010 and how his team broke in, took control, and secretly re-voted all cast ballots for write-in science fiction characters.


Part III brings together experts and law professors with diverse specialties in a roundtable exchange on developing and implementing responses to these technological issues in an area–elections–that demands high levels of certainty about results.  The discussion may include analogies and differences between previous election issues and current technological developments; constitutional and legal principles that apply to selection and use of technology and to new evidentiary challenges that may emerge in election disputes; particular challenges in regulating technology during periods of rapid change; and whether a moratorium on internet voting is appropriate and, if so, the standards or thresholds that should determine its scope.  The panel will identify areas where new scholarship will be important and particular areas that may see new urgent questions during the coming year. (Please check online for updated list of participants.)

Speaker: Professor Andrew W. Appel, Ph.D., Princeton University Department of Computer Science

Speaker: Professor J. Alex Halderman, Ph.D., University of Michigan Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Speaker: Richard L. Hasen, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Speaker: Candice Hoke, Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Speaker: Dr. David R. Jefferson, Ph.D., Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Center for Applied Scientific Computing

Speaker: Martha Mahoney, University of Miami School of Law

Speaker: Professor Walter R. Mebane, Ph.D., University of Michigan Department of Political Science

Speaker: Daniel P. Tokaji, The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law
Date & Time
Start Date: 01/05/2012, 9:00 am
End Date: 01/05/2012, 12:00 pm
4110 Crosscutting Program – The Law and Science of Trustworthy Elections: Facing the Challenges of Internet Voting and Other E-Voting Technologies: $0.0000
Session Details
Panelists will discuss what they see as their mission and how they realize it, how they keep current on news and information, the relationship between blogs and traditional media and how to enhance it, the uses and abuses of blogs, developing social media strategies for law schools, encouraging faculty to get involved, and getting the most out of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media.

Each panelist will be asked to emphasize strategies that help them maximize the dissemination of information, and how those strategies can work for law school communications and development professionals. Ample time will be reserved for questions about best practices from members of the audience.

Moderator: Rex Bossert, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Speaker: Richard L. Hasen, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Speaker: Mr. Ashby Jones, The Wall Street Journal

Speaker: Mr. Elie Mystal, Above the Law
Date & Time
Start Date: 01/05/2012, 1:30 pm
End Date: 01/05/2012, 2:45 pm
4070I Concurrent Session (Communications Track) – Blogs and Social Media: $0.0000
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