Newswise — EVENT: Approximately two-thirds of Americans voting in the November Presidential election will cast their votes on paper ballots. How can voters be assured their votes are counted and kept private? GW Assistant Professor of Computer Science Poorvi Vora and doctoral student Stefan Popoveniuc will discuss and demonstrate Scantegrity, their newly developed "voter-verifiable" voting system, which involves optical scan ballots, invisible ink, and a fool-proof way for voters to ensure their ballots are correctly tallied. WHEN: Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008; 9:30 a.m. WHERE: The George Washington UniversityTompkins Hall Conference Room, Room 107725 23rd St., NW, Washington, D.C.Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Orange and Blue Lines) WHO: Members of the media are invited to attend this discussion. To RSVP, contact Michelle Sherrard at (202) 994-1423 or [email protected]. Continental breakfast will be provided. A conference call will be available, and RSVP is required. The number is (888) 422-7124 and participant code is 855118. BACKGROUND: Dr. Vora and Popoveniuc will demonstrate Scantegrity, a vote-counting system that enables individuals to verify that their ballots have been collected and accurately tabulated. Scantegrity is the only such system in the country that can be used with current optical scan ballots and does not change the voting experience for users.

Each optical scan ballot has a serial number, and every choice on the ballot has a special confirmation number attached to it. Using a special pen, voters select their choices, and when they do so, a special confirmation number associated with each choice is revealed. The confirmation numbers are posted publicly following the election, and voters can check to see that their confirmation numbers have been recorded. However, the confirmation numbers do not reveal voter choices. To obtain the election tally, the list of confirmation numbers is decoded in a manner that can be verified by any organization or individual who wishes to check the mathematics. The decoding and the verification do not reveal the candidate choices of a voter.

Dr. Vora and Popoveniuc will discuss the security and privacy properties of Scantegrity and how this system can be used in future national elections. Other faculty and doctoral students from GW; University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Ottawa; University of Waterloo; and University of Newcastle upon Tyne, also have been involved in the project. David Chaum is the chief inventor of Scantegrity.