What Verifying an Election Means

The election at the Université Catholique de Louvain is over, the winner has been declared.

So, what does it mean that this was, supposedly, a verifiable election?

It means that you can go to the audit web site. There, you’ll find a detailed specification that describes the file formats, encryption mechanisms, and process by which you can audit the election. You’re able to download every encrypted vote. You can verify all of the vote fingerprints by recomputing the fingerprint yourself. Each voter can check that their ballot is on that list, under the correct voter identifier. Then you can check that the encrypted tallying was done correctly, simply by recomputing it. And you can check that the decryption proofs check out.

And in the end, you can declare, with full confidence, because you coded it yourself and ran the code yourself, that given the published list of vote fingerprints, which individual voters checked, the result of the election was correctly computed.

8 thoughts on “What Verifying an Election Means

  1. Congrats. I wonder if you could comment on a viable pathway to a verifiable presidential election in the US. What are the biggest technical or political challenges? Who are the actors you trust or distrust? Will it take another suspicious election before the debate is pushed forward?

  2. Congrats. I wonder if you could comment on a viable pathway to a verifiable presidential election in the US. What are the biggest technical or political challenges? Who are the actors you trust or distrust? Will it take another suspicious election before the debate is pushed forward?

  3. Congratulations Ben! It’s a milestone and I hope that this will revolutionise electronic ballots in the years to come. One note, the article that you point out from the “La Libre” says that the electronic voting system was conceived and applied by the crypto group of the Université de Louvain … not entirely correct, isn’t it? Anyway, a minor detail given the significance of this moment🙂

  4. Congratulations Ben! It’s a milestone and I hope that this will revolutionise electronic ballots in the years to come. One note, the article that you point out from the “La Libre” says that the electronic voting system was conceived and applied by the crypto group of the Université de Louvain … not entirely correct, isn’t it? Anyway, a minor detail given the significance of this moment🙂

  5. Bruno,

    The UCL crypto group did a significant amount of work to extend and adapt Helios, so I don’t mind if an article here and there gives them the credit, they certainly deserve a lot!

  6. Bruno,

    The UCL crypto group did a significant amount of work to extend and adapt Helios, so I don’t mind if an article here and there gives them the credit, they certainly deserve a lot!

Comments are closed.