Takoma Park: so can I see my confirmation code already?

[This post is part of my Auditing the Takoma Park Municipal Election series.] So the votes have been cast, and voters went home. Some of them wrote down their confirmation codes. They probably checked those codes against the official Scantegrity web site. But why would they trust that web site to do all of the math right in the backend? That’s where the audit work comes in. I’ve now run the Meeting 3 verification, and it looks good: the confirmation codes were properly opened, and I’ve posted my own re-computed version of the confirmation codes. If you’re a Takoma Park … Continue reading Takoma Park: so can I see my confirmation code already?

Takoma Park: Meeting 2

[This post is part of my Auditing the Takoma Park Municipal Election series.] OK, so a couple of days ago we verified the initial P table and D tables for all 6 wards in tomorrow‘s Takoma Park election. Now comes Meeting 2, which was held a couple of weeks ago to open up a random half of those ballot commitments to ensure that the P and D tables were generated correctly. The short version of the story is that it all checks out, and the ballots look well-formed. Check out the detailed audit data. That said, there was one issue … Continue reading Takoma Park: Meeting 2

Takoma Park Election: the 7 steps of auditing

[This post is part of my Auditing the Takoma Park Municipal Election series.] If you’ve been following, we know what the voter experience is going to be like on Tuesday, and we know what the auditing process is going to be like. So, can we audit this thing already? Yes, we can. Here are the steps: Meeting 1: the election officials get together, agree on election parameters, and generate the commitments to the Ballot Table of 5000 ballots (called the P Table for historical reasons) and the 40 Shuffle Tables (called the D Tables). Why 40 shuffle tables? It’s a … Continue reading Takoma Park Election: the 7 steps of auditing

Takoma Park 2009: Verifying the Tally from the Confirmation Codes

[This post is part of my Auditing the Takoma Park Municipal Election series.] We’ll now consider the auditing portion of the Takoma Park election. This is a little bit involved, so we’ll take our time. Importantly, the typical voter does not need to burden themselves with this complexity. All that Valerie, our voter, needs to do, is follow the voter experience description, which is quite straight-forward. The complexity of the auditing process is reserved for those who wish to audit the election. Anyone can be an auditor if they so choose, but no one is required to do so if … Continue reading Takoma Park 2009: Verifying the Tally from the Confirmation Codes

Takoma Park 2009: the voter experience

For background on this post, check out the Auditing Takoma Park 2009 Election.

I’m gathering all documentation on a Google Site. This blog will continue to serve as the narrative, while the datasets and documentation will live on the Google Site, and I’ll refer to them as needed from this blog.

Let’s begin with an explanation of the voting process that Takoma Park citizens will experience on November 3rd, 2009.
(If you’re a Takoma Park resident: make sure to register by October 5th if you want to participate in this historic election!)

Say hello to Valerie, our token voter. At a high level, Valerie’s voting experience is identical to her past experience with a typical optical-scan election. She fills in the bubbles for the candidates of her choice, casts her ballot, and walks away. With one twist: if Valerie wants to, she can write down some confirmation codes that will let her audit her ballot later on.
Continue reading Takoma Park 2009: the voter experience

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 … Continue reading Auditing the Takoma Park Election

Schneier on self-enforcing protocols and voting

Bruce Schneier pens another great article on how certain protocols between people who do not trust one another can be set up to prevent cheating without third-party oversight. Of course, the gem of the article pertains to voting: Modern voting systems are rife with the potential for cheating, but an open show of hands in a room — one that everyone in the room can count for himself — is self-enforcing. On the other hand, there’s no secret ballot, late voters are potentially subjected to coercion, and it doesn’t scale well to large elections. But there are mathematical election protocols … Continue reading Schneier on self-enforcing protocols and voting

Back from Israel – talks and press

Just got back from a trip to Israel, mostly vacation but a couple of very fun days at the Electronic Voting Workshop organized by IDC Herzliya and Tel Aviv University. A great group of folks, some very lively discussion, and a very productive workshop in Israel before they deploy electronic voting machines (imagine that, debating the issue before deployment…) I’ve posted my two talks: first a voting security overview: then a talk on Helios and the latest news about the UCL deployment: After the talks, my colleague Alon Rosen of IDC Herzliya organized an interview for me with Ynet, the … Continue reading Back from Israel – talks and press

Voting Workshop in Israel

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be in Israel at a voting workshop organized by Ran Canetti, Alon Rosen, Ronitt Rubinfeld, and Assaf Jacob. I’ll be giving a talk on voting security and a second talk on Helios. The workshop will be free and open to the public, and it should be an interesting mix of technologists, economists, social and political scientists. I hear some important Israeli government folks will be in attendance, too. There’s a real opportunity in a small centralized country like Israel, to enact reform and make use of advanced technology more quickly than in the US, … Continue reading Voting Workshop in Israel

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 … Continue reading What Verifying an Election Means