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

Ant colonies help evacuees in disaster zones

Apr 16, 2014

An escape route mapping system based on the behavior of ant colonies could give evacuees a better chance of reaching safe harbor after a natural disaster or terrorist attack by building a map of showing the shortest routes ...

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?

More news stories

Venture investments jump to $9.5B in 1Q

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into an increasing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

White House updating online privacy policy

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...