The 2020 Election: Remote Voting, Disinformation, and Audit

Moderator: Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University

Panelists: Alex Halderman, University of Michigan; Ben Adida, VotingWorks; Vanessa Teague, Thinking Cybersecurity


By all accounts, the 2020 election will be historic. Perhaps the most emotionally charged election in the history of the United States is happening in the midst of a global pandemic. Never before has disinformation about the process of voting come directly out of the White House. The results of the election are likely to be challenged, and the legitimacy of the results brought into question. Never has there been more pressure to safeguard the public perception of fairness and integrity, while at the same time COVID19 will stretch the ability of election officials to run a smooth election. Vote by mail will be widely adopted, and there will be pressure to move to remote electronic voting. This panel will address the questions of how to protect the legitimacy of the process. The panelists will share their experiences working with election officials, and we will discuss technologies such as end-to-end voting and risk-limiting audits.

Avi Rubin, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Aviel (Avi) D. Rubin is Professor of Computer Science and Technical Director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Rubin has focused most of his professional career on the security of electronic voting. He was Director of the NSF Accurate Center for Secure Elections and served in 6 elections as a Maryland Elections Judge. He testified about the security of voting machines before the U.S. House and Senate on multiple occasions, and he is the author of several books about computer security, including Brave New Ballot (Random House). Rubin is a frequent keynote speaker at industry and academic conferences, and he delivered widely viewed TED talks in 2011 and 2015. In January, 2004 Baltimore Magazine named Rubin a Baltimorean of the Year for his work in safeguarding the integrity of our election process, and he is also the recipient of the 2004 Electronic Frontiers Foundation Pioneer Award. Rubin has a B.S, ('89), M.S.E ('91), and Ph.D. ('94) from the University of Michigan.

J. Alex Halderman, University of Michigan

J. Alex Halderman is Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Michigan and Director of Michigan's Center for Computer Security and Society. His research spans computer and network security, applied cryptography, security measurement, censorship resistance, and election cybersecurity, as well as the interaction of technology with politics and international affairs. Prof. Halderman has performed numerous security evaluations of real-world voting systems, both in the U.S. and around the world. After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he advised recount initiatives in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in an effort to help detect and deter cyberattacks, and in 2017 he testified to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Russia investigation about cybersecurity threats to election infrastructure. He co-chairs the State of Michigan’s Election Security Advisory Commission.

Ben Adida, VotingWorks

Ben Adida is the Executive Director of VotingWorks, the only non-profit election equipment vendor in the United States, with a mission is to rebuild citizen trust in US elections with secure and affordable voting equipment. Prior to VotingWorks, Ben led product engineering teams in security-centric fields: K-12 single sign-on at Clever, payments at Square, and identity at Mozilla. Ben was previously on the Faculty at Harvard Medical School, where he researched security and privacy of personal health data. Ben holds a PhD from MIT's Cryptography and Information Security group, where his work focused on election security.

Vanessa Teague, Thinking Cybersecurity

Vanessa Teague is the CEO of Thinking Cybersecurity and and Associate Prof (Adj.) in the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University. Her research focuses primarily on cryptographic methods for achieving security and privacy, particularly for issues of public interest such as election integrity and the protection of government data. She was part of the team (with Chris Culnane and Ben Rubinstein) who discovered the easy re-identification of doctors and patients in the Medicare/PBS open dataset released by the Australian Department of Health. She has co-designed numerous protocols for improved election integrity in e-voting systems, and co-discovered serious weakne sses in the cryptography of deployed e-voting systems in New South Wales, Western Australia and Switzerland.

@conference {257074,
author = {Avi Rubin and J. Alex Halderman and Ben Adida and Vanessa Teague},
title = {The 2020 Election: Remote Voting, Disinformation, and Audit},
year = {2020},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

Presentation Video