IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM

online 7:00 PM, Thursday, 21 May 2020

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Will voting by mail save democracy?

Dana Chisnell


One of the most important civic traditions of the United States is voting in person at the polls on Election Day. Ask any New Englander about voting "absentee", and you're likely to hear the person say that's for people who are too ill to get to the polling place. Well, we're now in a time where even if every voter isn't sick with Covid-19, they could be carrying it. There's more interest than ever in making it easy for everyone to vote by mail.

Seems like an obvious and simple thing to do. But is it? Hear from Dana what a rapid conversion to all vote-by-mail looks like, what some of the challenges are, and how it may actually disenfranchise some voters.

Dana is a pioneer and thought leader in civic design, bringing deep experience to that space. After working with banks, insurance companies, and tech companies for decades to improve experiences for their customers and workers, Dana takes that knowledge to the government space. She has applied this work in dozens of states, and advised election commissions in other countries. In 2019, Dana was named one of the world's most influential people in digital government by Apolitical. She teaches design in government at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

This joint meeting of the Boston Chapter of the IEEE Computer Society and GBC/ACM will be online only due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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