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05/19/2003 07:00:00

Caltech Professor to Help Implement Federal Election Reform in California

PASADENA, Calif.— Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at the California Institute of Technology, has been appointed to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) California State Plan Advisory Committee. The purpose of the committee is to seek public input and provide policy guidance to assist the secretary of state of California in drafting the state's initial plan for compliance with federal mandates contained in HAVA.

The 23-member committee is composed of "individuals who are selected for their expertise, knowledge, and because they are stakeholders in the elections community," said Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.

The Help America Vote Act will fundamentally alter the way elections are conducted in California and across the nation. Signed into law on October 29, 2002, HAVA is creating a new federal agency, the Election Assistance Commission, to serve as a national clearinghouse on election information and to provide federal standards for voting systems. HAVA will require all states to implement sweeping changes by next year—during the presidential election cycle—to ensure preparedness and efficiency for future elections.

Alvarez was a team member and co-director of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, which analyzed the voting technology system in the United States after the controversial 2000 presidential election, and made recommendations for improvements to the American voting system.

According to Alvarez, "The Caltech/MIT team was involved in the development of HAVA, and most of the recommendations in our 2001 report found their way into HAVA. It is exciting now to be part of the process that will make the provisions of HAVA a reality for California."

For more information on the Help America Vote Act, visit: www.ss.ca.gov/elections/hava.htm.

For more information on the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, visit: www.vote.caltech.edu.

Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges (626) 395-3227 debwms@caltech.edu

Visit the Caltech Media Relations Web site at: http://pr.caltech.edu/media

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Written by Deborah Williams-Hedges