Ball State University is working with the Secretary of State’s office to train Hoosier election officials in election security procedures. As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, the program’s directors say the new certificate program is tailored exclusively for Indiana election needs.
There’s a long list of things the Secretary of State’s office says Hoosier election officials are supposed to know well. Some, like election systems and election laws are obvious. Others, like “physical space management” and “public relations,” are not.
But Jay Bagga, a co-director with the Certificate Program in Election Administration, Technology and Security at Ball State University, says everything is connected.
“When I go out to vote, I see the front end. I see the voting system and I see the poll workers. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much that goes on on the back end in the preparation of these elections. The public only sees a part of that.”
The program will soon train its first 21 students from 14 Indiana counties. According to program guidelines, all must be county clerks, election officials, or those who want to do those jobs in the future.
For those last category of students, co-director Bryan Byers says learning extensively about an election’s physical and cybersecurity requirements could open up new doors.
“Today’s election official really needs to be an information technology specialist, unlike in the days without electronic equipment.”
Sixteen of the 21 participants are receiving a scholarship from the Secretary of State’s office for the $2,550 certificate. The program will take in a new crop of students every six months.