Auditing the Takoma Park Election

In November of this year, citizens of Takoma Park, Maryland will use the Scantegrity voting system in their municipal election. This is a significant milestone for open-audit voting systems: the first time a government official is elected using a voting system that is verifiable from start to finish by any observer, even resistant to insider attacks.

As I’m not a member of the Scantegrity team, the credit for this goes to the whole Scantegrity team.

Understandably, the Takoma Park Election Board wants an independent audit of this election. They asked for my help, and I happily agreed. I’m volunteering my time on this project in exchange for the freedom to tell everyone exactly how the auditing process goes. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be preparing my election auditing code. I will be writing this code in public, for everyone to see, using the Scantegrity specifications, which I’ll explain and validate against the Scantegrity technical papers.

All code will be open-source and published, in real-time, on Github.

All updates on the process, including issues I find along the way in understanding / interpreting Scantegrity, I’ll post on this blog under the Takoma Park 2009 category.

I won’t look at or use the Scantegrity source code. Because I don’t need to! The point of an open-audit election is that it provides a mathematical proof of its correctness, and all I need to do is verify this proof, not the source code that produced it.

If you have questions or thoughts about how to make this audit most effective, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or drop me an email. And if you want to learn about open-audit voting, then I suggest you roll up your sleeves and hack along with me, producing your own verification code. It’s not that hard, I promise, and it will show you in the most explicit way possible that anyone can audit an open-audit election.

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