Douglas W. Jones

Associate Professor

Department of Computer Science

Contact:

phone: (319)338-2879
E-mail: jones@cs.uiowa.edu

Douglas W. Jones served on the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting Systems from 1994 to 2004, and he chaired of the board from Fall 1999 to early 2003. This board, appointed by the Secretary of State, was required to examined and approve any voting system before it could can be offered for sale to county governments in Iowa. The board met on demand, whenever a manufacturer wished to offer a new voting machine or make any changes to an existing machine used in Iowa; typically, the board met from three to 6 times a year.

By 1994, a few computerized voting machines were available to Iowa's counties, and the Secretary of State's office was concerned that nobody on the board had any deep understanding of computers or of methods for testing computerized systems. After the Secretary of State sought volunteers for the Board of Examiners from the faculty of the Regent's institutions, Jones was appointed.

The testing of electronic voting systems is evolving rapidly, with independent third-party testing labs being required by many states, but despite this testing, the Iowa Board of Examiners uncovered numerous flaws in voting systems offered to Iowa. While some flaws were the result of subtle differences in election laws between the states, other flaws were simply overlooked by the testing labs or were the results of deficiencies in the system of Federal voting system standards.

Since the controversy surrounding the 2000 general election, Jones' service on the Board of Examiners has attracted national attention. He was asked to testify at the U.S. Civil Rights Commission hearings in Tallahassee on Jan. 11, 2001, and his statements on problems with voting technology have been quoted by the New York Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentenel, Scientific American, the Chronicle of Higher Education and others, he have been a guest on NPR Science Friday and several other radio programs.

In the wake of the 2000 general election, the Iowa Secretary of State convened a state election reform task force to examine Iowa's laws governing recounts specifically and elections generally. As chair of the Iowa Board of Examiners, Jones was an active participant in this effort.

Jones has been publically critical of the 1990 and 2002 Federal Election Commission Voting System Standards, and because part of the Help America Vote Act focuses on the regulation of voting technology, he was asked to testify before the House Science Committee on May 22, 2001, along with witnesses from MIT, Bryn Mawr College and the NIST. When the Federal Election Commission came out with the draft of what became the 2002 Voting System Standards Jones became heavily involved in the review of those standards, leading to his tesimony before the Federal Election Commission on April 17, 2002.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Election 2000, Jones's work gained some attention in the national press, including the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentenel, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Palm Beach Post. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the Diebold Touch Screen Voting system that erupted in the summer of 2003, there was an explosion of interest; he was quoted in over 22 newspaper and magazine stories, including twice in the New York Times and once in Business Week, and I was an invited guest for over 10 radio interviews, including two appearances on NPR Science Friday.

In addition, Jones has consulted with the ACLU (Illinois Chapter), Miami-Dade County, the Arizona Senate Government Accountability and Reform Committee, the Brennan Center for Justice and several other organizations on voting related issues. Jones made significant contributions to the 2006 revision of New York's voting system standards, and he served on the election observation missions for the 2005 presidential election in Kazakhstan and the 2006 parliamentary election in the Netherlands for the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Outside of the realm of voting systems, the local press has frequently turned to Jones as a source for information on computer-related news stories. For example, KCRG broadcast a 3-part news-story Feb 21 and 22 1999 on the year 2000 problem, making use of considerable information he provided.