Cryptography provides world's first large-scale verifiable political election

Dec 20, 2013

Controversial election results could be a thing of the past, as a secure e-voting system developed by computing experts at the University of Surrey moves one step closer to implementation.

The team at Surrey has signed a contract with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) in Australia to develop the 'back end' software for the supervised e-voting system it will be using at the Victorian State in 2014. The project will be the world's first large-scale verifiable political election. Victorian law allows the VEC to make e-voting kiosks available for those living with a or who have insufficient English literacy skills, as well as those who live outside the State of Victoria.

The key novelty of the system is 'end-to-end verifiability'—this means that the system provides confirmation information about the election that can be checked independently. It does this using cryptography. Voters are given a receipt of their in encrypted form so they can check their encrypted vote is included. The secrecy of the ballot is ensured because votes are decrypted in a cryptographically secure and verifiable way, so that no-one can tell which decrypted vote corresponds to which encrypted vote. Verifiability gives the public a way to check that the voting system has processed the votes correctly. The code itself and its design will also be made open for transparency, fostering greater trust in this method of voting.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Steve Schneider, Professor of Computing at the University of Surrey, and project lead, comments: "Concerns about security in e-voting meant that the VEC wanted end-to-end verifiability in their . The University of Surrey is actively involved in this area, having won 'best design' at the VoComp 2007 Universities Voting Systems Competition, and they approached us to adapt and apply our design to their election requirements. After the 2014 Victorian State election we aim to roll out our system more widely."

Victorian Electoral Commissioner, Warwick Gately, AM, says: "For the VEC, ensuring every Victorian can actively participate in their democracy is our goal. E-voting aids accessibility for people who live with a disability or who cannot read English.

"The strength of end-to-end verifiability is that all participants—the VEC, candidates, scrutineers and voters—can be completely sure that the actual vote cast is the same as that received and counted."

Explore further: Voters with disabilities face barriers at polls

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New technology will make election voting more efficient

May 26, 2010

Did you stay up all night to hear your local result during the recent election? Time-consuming manual vote-counts and ballot boxes could soon be consigned to the history books, thanks to innovative new secure voting technology.

Electronic voting system tested by Newcastle University

May 14, 2008

An electronic vote capture and counting system, designed to overcome the problems which have dogged computerised voting systems throughout the world, notably the touch screen voting machines in the US and pilot schemes run ...

Security flaws could taint 2012 US election: report

Jul 25, 2012

Security flaws in voting technology in a number of US states could taint the outcome of the 2012 election, a study concluded Wednesday, saying it was "highly likely" some systems will fail.

Recommended for you

Microsoft challenging US on overseas data

1 hour ago

In a case closely watched by the tech sector, Microsoft will challenge Thursday a US court order requiring it to give prosecutors electronic mail content associated with an overseas server.

Facebook's Internet.org expands in Zambia

1 hour ago

(AP)—Facebook's Internet.org project is taking another step toward its goal of bringing the Internet to people who are not yet online with an app launching Thursday in Zambia.

Sony surprises with first quarter profit

2 hours ago

(AP)—Sony Corp. reported a surprise eightfold jump in quarterly profit Thursday as sales got a perk from a cheap yen and its bottom line was helped by gains from selling buildings and its stake in a video-game maker.

Samsung profit falls as smartphone sales slow

2 hours ago

(AP)—Samsung Electronics Co. reported a bigger-than-expected fall in second quarter profit on Thursday and said it was uncertain if earnings from its handset business would improve in the current quarter.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

grondilu
not rated yet Dec 20, 2013
Very big news. I wonder if this system could allow someone to sell his vote. I would be fine with that possibility, but I'm pretty sure lots of people would find it unacceptable.

Also, if politics don't use it, this could be used for votes in general assemblies of companies.
geokstr
not rated yet Dec 22, 2013
And how does this process verify that a particular e-voter is who the e-voter says he/she is? What prevents a voter from going from computer to computer and voting multiple times?