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History of the Center

The Center for Election Systems at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Kennesaw, Georgia, was founded in 2002 for the purpose of supporting the Elections Division of the Office of the Secretary of State of Georgia, in the statewide deployment of a uniform voting system. KSU is a public institution located on the northern arc of metro Atlanta.

In terms of geographical area, Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi. With 159 counties, each functioning as a separate administrative unit, its infrastructure and transportation systems create unique challenges in supporting voting technologies.

Faculty at KSU have conducted certification tests of computer-based voting system for the State since 1988. Based on this expertise, the University proposed the formation of a center to support the installation and end-user training for the new voting system. The Secretary of State authorized KSU to create a Center for Election Systems, dedicated to assisting with the deployment of the DRE voting technology and providing ongoing support. 100% of the funding for the Center’s operation comes from the State of Georgia.

In April, 2002, the KSU Center for Election Systems was created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia through training, research, auditing, and testing of voting systems. The Center maintains an arms-length working relationship with the Secretary of State and the vendor, ensuring both independence and objectivity in its work. The Center has continued to evolve, adapting to the emerging issues associated with elections in general and DRE technology in particular.

The Center works closely with the Elections Division of the Secretary of State, the Georgia county election superintendents, and the vendor to facilitate successful elections. The Center’s staff includes a Director, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Center; an Assistant Director responsible for training and e-poll book deployment; two Technology Coordinators responsible for overseeing implementation and maintenance of voting equipment; and three Elections Coordinators, responsible for assisting counties and municipalities in the construction of ballots.  The Center employs  undergraduate students who work in its call center and provide some of the manpower for its testing activities. All employees of the Center must complete a pre-employment background check and an orientation program that includes election law and ethics.

In support of elections conducted within Georgia, the Center for Election Systems has made the following contributions:

  • Developed a comprehensive certification test protocol for all election technologies used in the State, including DREs, optical scanners, servers, encoders, electronic poll books, memory cards, and ancillary devices used to support elections.
  • Developed acceptance testing protocol and implemented statewide testing on all delivered, repaired and upgraded equipment, in place. This acceptance testing has been accomplished multiple times on over 27,000 DREs and over 6,000 electronic poll books, as well as all repaired or newly acquired equipment.
  • Developed Logic and Accuracy testing scripts in support of county pre-election testing.
  • Developed and implemented security procedures that ensure valid, certified election management software is installed in all county election offices.
  • Developed and implemented parallel monitoring procedures for election-day system verification.
  • Conducted training modules and maintained completion records for the state-mandated training program for Georgia election officials.
  • Provided training to county and state election board members on voting technologies.
  • Conducted training of poll managers and poll workers in support of statewide effort.
  • Consult with vendor development teams on needed modifications to systems.
  • Audited the warehouse operations of the vendor during the initial deployment of voting equipment.
  • Build ballots for the majority of Georgia counties and review all ballots for completeness and correctness.
  • Produce compact flash cards with state voter registration rolls for distribution to all counties (159), prior to each election.
  • Conduct research on security, deployment and storage strategies, and usability of voting technologies.
  • Maintain a toll-free number call center for day-to-day support as well as election-day support and troubleshooting analysis.
  • Train students for leadership roles in election management.
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