Ball State CEATS Program Wins National Award | #itsecurity | #infosec

Two Ball State University programs dedicated to lasting
election integrity have received national awards honoring best practices in
election administration and training from the U.S.
Election Assistance Commission (EAC).

The EAC’s annual Clearinghouse
Awards on Thursday recognized Indiana’s Certificate
in Election Administration, Technology, and Security (CEATS), a program
partnership between Ball State and the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, with
its Outstanding Innovations in Elections award.

Additionally, the Indiana Voting
System Technical Oversight Program (VSTOP) at Ball State, another partnership
endeavor between the University, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, and
the Indiana Election Commission, was selected as honorable mention.

“We are honored to accept these awards in recognition of
the hard work and dedication of Hoosier elections administrators and poll
workers across the state,” Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan
said. “Indiana’s successful track record of election integrity is because of
the people that work in all aspects of our electoral process and are continually
willing to adopt training, share best practices and innovate.”

The CEATS and VSTOP programs, co-directed by Drs. Jay
Bagga and Bryan
Byers, are part of Ball
State’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs, led by director Dr.
Chad Kinsella.

“As a public university, Ball State recognizes our
responsibility to support and to serve our community, our region, and the
entire state of Indiana,” said Dr.
Maureen McCarthy, dean of Ball State’s College of
Sciences and Humanities. “Our mission is to provide exceptional educational
experiences for our students, but we also recognize the importance of
supporting the vitality and strength of our communities by protecting and
encouraging civic engagement. I would like to congratulate Drs. Bagga, Byers,
and Kinsella, and their committed VSTOP teams, for this wonderful recognition.”

Outstanding Innovations in Elections 
The CEATS program provides an innovative collegiate level
certificate program designed to provide substantive, researched-based training
and education in election administration technology and security.

“The CEATS program fills an immediate need in the state
of Indiana by having one educational experience to professionalize election
administrators,” said Dr. Byers, a professor of Criminal Justice and
Criminology at Ball State. “This award recognizes the pioneering work of our
program and the positive impact we are having in our partnership with the
Indiana Secretary of State, the Indiana Election Commission, and the hard-working
election officials in all 92 Indiana counties.”

Throughout one year and 170 program hours, the
Certificate in Election Administration, Technology, and Security provides
instruction and experiential training on:

  • Election
  • Election
    Day reporting
  • Election
    personnel training and management
  • Information
    technology and security basics
  • Operations
    and troubleshooting of voting systems and electronic poll books

Participants also complete capstone projects and
participate in mentorship with program faculty and state election officials.
Capstone projects are designed to be useful in the participant’s county.

“We are grateful to be honored by the U.S. Election
Assistance Commission for the important work conducted by our CEATS program, in
partnership with the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Election
Commission,” said Dr. Bagga, a professor of Computer Science at Ball State.
“CEATS is a foundational part of VSTOP’s mission to ensure the integrity and
security of our state’s elections, and we appreciate the commitment of election
administrators across the state to this critical endeavor.”

Ball State’s VSTOP program earned honorable mention in
the category of Outstanding Use of HAVA (the Help America Vote Act) Grants in
Election Modernization.

VSTOP is a HAVA grant-funded program overseen by the
Indiana Secretary of State. The VSTOP team advises the Indiana Secretary of
State and the Indiana Election Commission on the certification of voting
machines and electronic poll books in Indiana.

VSTOP helped pioneer first-in-the-nation legislation
authorizing the certification and testing of electronic poll books before they
are permitted to be used in elections in Indiana.

The Clearinghouse Awards, also known as the “Clearie”
Awards, are presented annually across the U.S. for best practices in election
administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Established by the
Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), the EAC is charged with serving as a
clearinghouse for election administration information. To further this mission,
the EAC launched the Clearies in 2016 to promote best practices in elections
and celebrate the accomplishments of election officials.

Winners were selected by
independent panels of election officials and members from the EAC’s advisory
boards, with the EAC Commissioners serving as judges for the sticker category.

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