Electronic Assessment

Posted May 14, 2004 at 6:22pm

Amid media and academic reports that electronic voting systems may be vulnerable to manipulation, more than a dozen House lawmakers have asked the General Accounting Office to conduct a “high priority” study of the security of electronic voting systems.

In a letter dispatched Friday to Comptroller General David Walker, Government Reform Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) and ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) joined several other Members in asking the agency to closely examine optical scanners, punch-card readers and direct-recording electronic voting machines. [IMGCAP(1)]

The letter seeks “best practices that can be implemented to improve the security and reliability of the electronic voting process” as well as a post-election survey of state and local election officials to determine whether they are complying with their states’ policies and procedures to ensure security and reliability.

Furniture Lottery. New desks and other office necessities will soon arrive in select House offices.

House officials plan to replace nearly 8,000 “workstations” — including some furniture that has been in use for more than 30 years — with new modular furniture designed to accommodate computers, phones and other office equipment.

“The new furniture will maintain a look consistent with the historical features of Congressional offices, but will have the flexibility and design to accommodate the functions of a modern House office,” House Chief Administration Officer Jay Eagen wrote in a May 12 letter to House Members.

The CAO’s office will distribute the furniture by a traditional lottery, the first of which will be held this month for Members who have served at least 11 terms.

On the Road With C-SPAN. After bringing 40 public leaders to Washington, D.C., schools last year, C-SPAN’s “Students and Leaders” program travels to New York City this month.

All this week, C-SPAN will air discussions between students and national leaders, who will visit 10 New York schools to talk about their lives, careers and ideas about leadership and public service.

Three New York House Members will take part: Reps. Gregory Meeks (D), Vito Fossella (R) and Edolphus Towns (D).

Meeks’ discussion with Richmond Hill High School students will air Tuesday on C-SPAN2 at 7 a.m. Fossella’s segment at Staten Island Technical High School and Towns’ segment at Brooklyn Technical High School will both appear Saturday on C-SPAN2 at 6 and 7 a.m., respectively.

Other participants include author Frank McCourt, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Time Magazine editor Nancy Gibbs.

— Amy Keller, Jennifer Yachnin and John McArdle