| Willy Brandt School of Public Policy

Brandt School's Global Outreach: James Madison University in Virginia (USA) hosts Dr. Hasnain Bokhari for a discussion on Electoral Technologies

Dr. Bokhari's talk drew an audience comprising both students and members of civil society. The event was a collaborative effort, co-organized by the Center for Global Engagement, James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, and the Department of Communication Studies at James Madison University.

Embracing Bytes from Ballots: Data, Trust, and Democracy in Focus

The Brandt School’s lead on internationalization, Dr. Hasnain Bokhari was recently invited by the James Madison University in Virginia (USA) for a talk that focused on the crucial topic of electoral technologies. In his introductory remarks, Dr. Bokhari shared valuable insights into the wide-ranging research domains embraced by the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy.

In his talk, Dr. Bokhari delved into the evolving landscape where technology disrupts governance and paves the way for fresh perspectives on digital social contract between governments and their constituents. Dr. Bokhari's insights highlighted the multifaceted nature of these changes, which, while holding the promise of economic and social progress, simultaneously give rise to essential inquiries regarding digital sovereignty and cybersecurity.

The discussion was hosted in the lecture hall located within James Madison University's Union building and was co-organized by the Center for Global Engagement, James Madison Center for Civic Engagement, and the Department of Communication Studies. Dr. Bokhari’s talk extended a warm welcome to not only James Madison University students but also to members of the general public. Several representatives from the local electoral board in the city of Harrisonburg attended this discussion, showing a keen interest in the topic of electronic voting and the challenges it presents.

Transforming Democracy: Data Sovereignty and Voter Turnout in Digital Age

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Muhammad Ittefaq who works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at James Madison University. The audience showed a strong interest in various topics during the Q&A session, notably election hacking, constraints of electronic voting machines, cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, and the impact of electoral technologies on voter turnout.   

Dr. Bokhari explored several aspects of technology's impact on government. In an era characterized by algorithmic bias, he addressed pressing concerns such as the rising digital divides, digital inclusion, and the necessity of legal measures to protect personal data and privacy. He placed significant emphasis on the changing dynamics of sovereignty in the digital era. He also highlighted that modern sovereignty encompasses more than just traditional territorial and geographical aspects. It now also revolves around safeguarding personal information and ensuring the secure transmission of data, both of which play crucial roles in reshaping the concept of state sovereignty. He underscored the transformation of the sovereignty landscape in the information age, highlighting that it's not just about territorial and geographical sovereignty but also about the safeguarding of personal information and the secure transmission of data packets that is becoming a pivotal element in redefining state sovereignty.

Dr. JY Zhou, the Executive Director of the Center for Global Engagement at James Madison University, was also present at the event and conveyed sincere appreciation to Dr. Bokhari for his insightful discussion.