Election Security (IT 425 DL1 & IT 425 DL2)

Spring 2024. Online

Dr. Massimiliano Albanese, Department of Information Sciences and Technology

Course Coordinator and Instructor for Section DL1

Contact Info:   (703) 993-1629.

Web: https://csis.gmu.edu/albanese/   https://maxalbanese.com/

Office Address: Research Hall, Suite 417, Fairfax Campus.

Prof. David Levine, Department of Information Sciences and Technology

Instructor for Section DL2

Office hours: By appointment via Microsoft Teams or in person. Emails received M-F will be responded to within 48 hours.

Election Security Twitter Feed: @GMUElectionSec


George Mason University

COURSE Description

Fair and secure elections are essential to democracy. Voting systems are as much a part of our nation’s critical infrastructure as are transportation, energy, and water systems. Thus, the importance of securing state and local voting systems that support both national and local elections cannot be underestimated.

This course provides an overview of the historical, cultural, and political significance of voting, the technical issues of securing election processes, and careers in service for public good. The course covers typical election system infrastructures, their operation, and the voting systems security guidelines and locality election security standards set by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Topics include risk assessment of registrar information systems, analysis of system and network documentation for accuracy, software patches, systems updates, configuring and deploying appropriate security software, and ensuring compliance with best practices in securing systems. This course may be taken independently or as the required gateway course for the Virginia Cyber Navigator Internship Program (VA-CNIP).

Course Goals

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:


IT 223: Information Security Fundamentals.

Course Expectations

Online Learning Community

This online course is taught via Blackboard Courses (log into myMason, select the Courses Tab, and the course can be found in the Course List). This course is offered completely online. In our online learning community, we must be respectful of one another. Please be aware that innocent remarks can be easily misconstrued. Sarcasm and humor can be easily taken out of context. When communicating, please be positive and diplomatic. You are encouraged to learn more about Netiquette.

Course Format

The course will employ lectures by the instructor and invited speakers, quizzes, and a midterm exam to assess progress, homework assignments, and a final exam.

Textbooks and Reading Materials

Readings to be assigned from Internet-accessible resources or posted on Blackboard under Course Content in the respective weekly folders. Each reading will be marked as either required or recommended.

Course Schedule

Below is an outline of the weekly course modules. All quizzes and exams will be administered online using the LockDown Browser, and you must have your webcam on. Quizzes will be available online from Friday to Sunday. All homework and quizzes are due at the end of the week for which they are scheduled, by 11:59 PM on Sunday.

Course Tools

The following tools will be used in this course:

Additional Resources & Information

Below is a list of additional and useful resources.

Grading Policy

Grading will be based on homework assignments, quizzes, class participation, a midterm exam, and a final exam.

Students will be held responsible for all material covered in the course. Exams are administered during the dates specified in the course schedule. Failure to take any exam during the exam window or to submit an assignment by the due date will result in a score of zero, unless cleared in advance with the instructor and arranged for a makeup plan. The instructor, at his discretion, may offer opportunities for students to earn extra credits (e.g., participation in workshops, competitions, seminars) during the semester. Any request to submit work for extra credit, outside of the opportunities offered by the instructor, will be denied.

Final Grades are non-negotiable, and cannot be disputed once posted. Any request to adjust grades after they have been posted will be denied unless the student can present evidence that the instructor made a mistake.

Assessment Components Allocation

Assessment Component Points
Homework Assignments: 6 assignments @ 5 points each 30
Quizzes: 5 quizzes (5 points each) 25
Class participation: discussion forum closes on the last day of class, 04/29/2024 5
Midterm Exam: online from 02/29/2024 to 03/03/2024 20
Final Exam: online from 05/02/2024 to 05/05/2024 20
Total 100

Letter Grades by Point Range

Point range Letter grade
97 - 100 A+
93 - 96 A
90 - 92 A-
87 - 89 B+
83 - 86 B
80 - 82 B-
77 - 79 C+
73 - 76 C
70 - 72 C-
60 - 69 D
0 - 59 F