2019 NVRTF Conference Speakers

  • Photo of Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq

    Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq

    Conference Discussion Topic: Voter Suppression Barbara R. Arnwine, Esq, president & founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, is internationally renowned for contributions on critical justice issues including the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the 2006 reauthorization of provisions of the Voting Rights Act. Currently, she also serves as Co-Chair and Facilitator of the National Commission for Voter Justice, the Millennial Votes Matters Convenings and the Voting Rights Alliance. Website: Voting Rights Alliance and Transformative Justice Coalition

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  • Photo of Jan BenDor

    Jan BenDor

    Conference Discussion Topic: Voter’s Guide to Alternative Vote Counting Reform Proposals Summary Why voters seek reform–spoilers, stalking horses, undervotes, wasted votes, Electoral College, “primarying” as a weapon. The faddish nature of reform proposals by well funded advocacy groups. Counting system designs and flaws–plurality,RCV/IRV, approval, value voting Election reform priorities Verifiability problems Technical and security issues Voter usability Legal problems Political barriers Bio Jan BenDor is a founding member of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Michigan Election Reform Alliance.org, which advocates for voter protection, election verification, and comprehensive election security. A state-accredited elections administrator and election worker trainer, with lengthy experience as a deputy township Clerk, she volunteers as the Michigan Election Reform Alliance Statewide Coordinator. MERA co-led the successful 2018 effort to stop gerrymandering in Michigan, passing a state constitutional amendment to establish an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Jan joined the Board of Directors of the National Election Defense Coalition in 2014. NEDC is working in Washington to enact bi-partisan legislation that would end all use of paperless voting machines, mandate manual risk limiting audits, and put teeth into enforcement of federal laws against voter purging and suppression. Website: MichiganElectionReformAlliance.org

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  • Photo of Lynn Bernstein

    Lynn Bernstein

    Conference Discussion Topic: State of Things in North Carolina Lynn Bernstein started to question the infallibility of our elections in 2016 and since then has been pushing for secure hand-marked paper ballots and greater transparency. Seeing the glaring problems with our critical election systems, she decided not to return to the engineering field and instead works full-time as an election security advocate. She earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and had a career integrating and testing satellites. Now she is driven to research and understand the technical details and procedures involved in the entire voting process, from certification of systems to post election tabulation audits. Her belief is that voter confidence and voter turnout will improve with greater transparency and a simple voting method that people can understand. Voting is a sacred right and it is crucial that everyone has the opportunity to cast a vote that is verifiable, counted accurately and audited for assurance.

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  • Photo of John Brakey

    John Brakey

    Conference Discussion Topic: Ballot Image Audits John R. Brakey is a longtime election transparency activist from Arizona who has specialized in electronic voting machine security and hacking issues for nearly two decades. His group, Americans United for Democracy Integrity and Transparency – AUDIT-AZ, a nonpartisan organization, has been involved with or filed numerous lawsuits that have challenged reported election results and illegal election procedures. It has exposed the problems with insiders and vendors due to the fact that our elections have been computerized, privatized and outsourced. Presently, our focus is on solutions to make Elections Transparent, Track-able and Publicly Verified. The new digital technology which is fully capable of “… retains individual digital ballot images for auditing and adjudication” is being suppressed and destroyed. This tech is rapidly replacing the old “Mark Sense” optical scanners. The new Digital Image Scanners that count Hand Mark Paper Ballots produce ballot images that must be used to De-Corrupt our Democracy by: Link to paper: www.tinyurl.com/ybzjktjr Website: AUDITelectionsUSA.org

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  • Photo of Dr. Emma Briant

    Dr. Emma Briant

    Conference Discussion Topic: Social media, propaganda and the influence industry? Emma Briant specializes in the topics of propaganda and political communication, and is interested in changing technologies and their implications for democracy, international security, migration, inequality, and human rights. Current projects include a book on Cambridge Analytica, Propaganda Machine: The Hidden Story of Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry; and a coauthored book with Robert Entman, What’s Wrong with the Democrats? Media Bias, Inequality, and the Rise of Donald Trump. Briant completed her PhD at Glasgow Media Group, University of Glasgow, where her dissertation examined changes in Anglo-American counterterrorism propaganda strategy since 9/11. This work became a book, Propaganda and Counter-Terrorism: Strategies for Global Change, and led to many international invited talks. Her first book, the coauthored Bad News for Refugees, looked at UK political and media discourse on migration prior to the Brexit referendum in 2016. Her work has also appeared in Critical Sociology, Journal of Media Education, International Journal of Press/Politics, Race & Class, openDemocracy, United Nations Association Magazine, and Sociological Review, among other publications. She previously served as Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Essex, Lecturer in Journalism Studies at University of Sheffield, and…

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  • Photo of Jennifer Cohn

    Jennifer Cohn

    Conference Discussion Topic: Voting Machine Vendors: Opacity, Corruption, and Lies Jennifer Cohn is an election integrity advocate and writer whose articles on election security have been published in the New York Review of Books, WhoWhatWhy, Salon and TYT Investigates. She is also an attorney who practiced insurance coverage and appellate for many years as a partner with Nielsen, Haley & Abbott LLP in California. Since the 2016 election, she has focused her efforts on investigating insecure computerized election systems and promoting potential solutions. She has about 100,000 followers on Twitter, where her account serves as a blog providing daily updates and commentary on election-security developments throughout the country. Her Twitter handle is @jennycohn1.

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  • Photo of Dr. Richard DeMillo

    Dr. Richard DeMillo

    Conference Discussion Topic: Ballot Marking Devices Cannot Assure the Will of the Voters Two competing election systems purport to be auditable and software independent: hand-marked paper ballots and paper ballots printed by machines called Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs). In this talk, I will discuss recent work with Andrew Appel and Philip Stark, arguing that BMDs are neither software independent nor meaningfully auditable by Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs). We also introduce two new conditions called contestability and defensibility that are necessary for an audit to confirm election results. Dr. Richard DeMillo’s Bio Richard DeMillo is the Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Professor of Computing at Georgia Tech. He founded and directs the Center for 21st Century Universities, Georgia Tech’s living laboratory for fundamental change in higher education. His research includes numerous articles, books and patents in software engineering, cryptography, and cyber security. He holds what is believed to be the only patent on breaking public key cryptosystems.  He has served as a foreign election observer for the Carter Center and has served on boards of public and private cybersecurity and privacy companies, including RSA Security and SecureWorks. He is a fellow of both the Association for Computing Machinery and the American…

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  • Photo of Garland Favorito

    Garland Favorito

    Conference Discussion Topics for Two Presentations: Unresolved BMD Security Threats and Georgia Events that May Impact Other States Garland Favorito is a Career Information Technology professional with over 40 years of in-depth experience in internet systems design, business systems analysis, database administration, application development, systems integration, systems life cycle methodologies, computer programming, project management, and multi-factor security for financial transactions. Website: https://voterga.org/

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  • Photo of Dr. Robert J. Fitrakis

    Dr. Robert J. Fitrakis

    Conference Discussion Topic: Are US Elections Legitimate? Bob Fitrakis is a lawyer, political author and writer, political candidate, and Professor of Political Science in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department at Columbus State Community College. He has been the editor of the Columbus Free Press since 1993 and wrote extensively about the U.S. presidential election, 2004 and related 2004 U.S. election voting controversies. His latest work he co-authored with Harvey Wasserman, originally called “the Strip & Flip Selection of 2016”, was updated to “The Strip & Flip Disaster of America’s Stolen Elections”.

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  • Photo of Lulu Friesdat

    Lulu Friesdat

    Conference Discussion Topic: Organizing Observations Lulu Friesdat is an Emmy award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on election reform and social change. She received a Best Documentary award for Holler Back — [not] Voting in an American Town, a film that explores systemic issues in our elections that discourage voter participation. Her network news experience includes assignments for CBS Evening News, Nightline, Sunday Morning, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. She produced profiles of Democratic candidates for MSNBC, and has done documentary work with NBC. A two-time recipient of the Edward R. Murrow award, her articles have been published on Alternet and Salon. Website: www.hollerbackfilm.com

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  • Photo of Lori Grace, MA

    Lori Grace, MA

    Conference Discussion Topic: TBA Lori Grace, MA is the founder of the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity and is also currently a fellow of the Institute also known as TrustVote.org. She has been involved in issues regarding election integrity since 2003, when she first started working with Bev Harris of Black Box Voting. She founded the Institute with awarding Carolyn Crnich (now retired) of Humboldt County for her excellent work as a registrar supporting election integrity. She also wrote and hosted programs on the many issues that came up in the 2016 primaries and the election that followed. Lori, Bob and John Brakey all directors of TrustVote.org are all very oriented towards creating possible solutions to America’s many problems in election integrity and are excited by the increased amount of interest in the American public now has about this issue. Website: TrustVote.org

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  • Photo of Emily Levy

    Emily Levy

    Conference Discussion Topic: Now That You Know, What Will You Do? Emily Levy has been a leader in the election security movement since 2004, when she coordinated the first phase of the precinct-level statistical forensic investigation into the presidential election in Ohio. Her advocacy for election security has included election projects in her home state of California as well as in Ohio, Arizona, New York, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, and Florida. She specializes in helping members of the public understand complex election technology and security issues and become active in working for secure and transparent elections. Emily has volunteered or consulted with the Election Protection Coalition, the Richard Hayes Phillips Project, The BRAD BLOG, Election Protection Strike Force, Election Transparency Coalition, Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman, CODE RED author Jonathan Simon, Ballots for Bernie, AUDIT-AZ, AUDIT USA, and SMART Elections. Her writings on election issues have been published by The Hill, Op-Ed News, and The BRAD BLOG. Website: http://powertomakeadifference.com/

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