Southeast Faculty Member Named to Missouri Automated Voting Equipment Qualification Committee

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

April 15, 2005 – Jill Young, instructor of accounting and management information systems at Southeast Missouri State University, has been named to the Missouri Automated Voting Equipment Qualification Committee.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan appointed Young to serve on the committee.

Carnahan has established the committee as a result of the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which requires that Missouri implement numerous changes to its election laws and procedures by Jan. 1. One of the most important tasks related to these changes is the qualification of new, automated voting equipment, Carnahan wrote in a letter to Young.

She says the committee’s work will be critical in ensuring that Missouri voters feel confident their vote is accurate and secure, and the system is free from fraud.

In many election jurisdictions, voters still use punch cards, according to Carnahan. Nearly all counties and voting jurisdictions will upgrade their voting systems from punch cards to newer equipment with the influx of one-time, federal money. In addition, Carnahan says HAVA requires that every polling place must have a voting machine that is accessible to individuals with disabilities.

She says, that for these reasons, there will be many companies seeking qualification to sell their systems in Missouri.

“The importance of this committee’s work cannot be overstated,” she said. “Ensuring the integrity of our elections if fundamental to our democracy.”

The committee is responsible for reviewing automated voting equipment from companies seeking to be qualified to sell their equipment in Missouri. The committee then is responsible for determining if the equipment is compliant with statutory provisions and must observe the functionality and performance of all equipment seeking to be qualified. The committee will conclude its work by sending an advisory report to the Secretary of State, detailing its findings.