Category: voting

  • The Beautiful Magic of Cryptography

    An election just wrapped up a few hours hours ago [public radio, le soir, RTL info]. The encrypted votes are stored in a redundant database, tied to each voter’s identifier, signed by the voting system, and available to all election participants for auditing. Each voter has a receipt of their encrypted vote they can compare […]

  • New Slides Posted

    I’ve posted my talk slides from my voting talk at UCL, and my short voting talk at the Harvard College Fund Assembly. I’ve included copies on Slideshare, which is starting to get interesting. I see that I can create synced audio for these slides…. I need to find time to do that for some of […]

  • More open-audit voting deployment

    Just as we’re wrapping up the verification for UCL‘s test election (powered by Helios) in preparation for their big election in a few days, we get word that the Scantegrity team is going to be used in a real US democratic election. That is fantastic news for the voting community. I hope we continue to […]

  • The Bar of Public Understanding

    I’m in Louvain-la-Neuve at the Université Catholique de Louvain where Helios Voting is being deployed to 25,000 voters, and I just had dinner with Olivier Pereira, the guy who’s doing a fantastic job leading the project here at UCL. We discussed the issue of activists and how they often seem to believe that they know […]

  • On Bad-Faith Mocking of Academic Research

    “This is a matter of how we prioritize the money that we spend […] Where does a lot of that money end up, anyways? […] Sometimes these dollars, they go to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France.” Sarah Palin, US Vice-Presidential Candidate, […]

  • Helios x 25K @ UCL

    I’m really excited to announce that Helios will power the Recteur election at the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), in Belgium. I’ve been working with their team, led by Olivier Pereira and Jean-Jacques Quisquater, for the last 4-5 months to help them evaluate Helios and think about their customization needs. The UCL team is working […]

  • Dan Wallach on Internet Voting

    Dan Wallach strikes again, putting the Estonians on notice regarding their plans to go from bad to worse with mobile-phone-based voting. It’s fascinating to me how most of the world regards Estonia’s high-tech elections as further proof of how technologically advanced Estonia is, while most computer security experts are absolutely petrified. The gap is another […]

  • “You can get the ballots and count them yourself”

    My friend Oliver points me to Humboldt County’s initiative to post publicly all of its cast ballots. The article includes a video of Mitch Trachtenberg explaining how his open-source software package counts scanned images of ballots. “You can get the ballots and count them yourself,” he says. Yes! Fantastic! Nice work Mitch, and nice work […]

  • Dan Wallach on teaching open-audit voting

    Dan Wallach writes about how hard it is to explain the cryptography of verifiable elections: My big question is whether we have a research challenge to invent progressively simpler systems that still have the right security properties, or whether we have an education challenge to explain that a certain amount of complexity is worthwhile for […]

  • Kathie Lee wants to verify her ballot!

    My friend and colleague Arjun apparently watches Kathie Lee on television. He points me to this fantastic clip: Did I hear that right? It is weird, when you show up at the polling place and they stuff your vote in an envelope… you wonder where it goes! Exactly. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could […]

  • Some More Election-Day Anecdotes

    I’m remembering more after a few hours of sleep. An elderly Russian man brought in his vote by mail envelope. “Dropping off your vote-by-mail envelope, sir?” I ask. “No! I vote here in person!” It took a few rounds to explain, and then he added “what, you didn’t check my ID? Why not?” “Well, sir, […]

  • My Day At the Polls

    I don’t know how Avi Rubin has enough energy to recount his poll-working day. But I’ll try, at least in brief form. Woke up at 4:50am to make it to the poll by 6am. I was the Precinct Inspector, i.e. the California term for what Bostonians call “Precinct Captain.” I had a great team of […]

  • The Real Issue with Touch-Screen Voting Machines

    I’ve said this before, but not as explicitly or as eloquently as Avi Rubin recently did: I’m very concerned about the impact a high turnout will have on an already stressed voting system. In Maryland, for example, we use touchscreen DRE machines. Precincts only have a handful of these machines, and they create a tight […]

  • I Voted

    I voted for Obama. And against Proposition 8. And against Proposition 4. I voted early, in person, not by mail. So my ballot is still secret. Which means, maybe I didn’t vote for Obama. You’ll never know. That’s the power of the secret ballot. I can tell you how I voted, but I can’t prove […]

  • Open-Audit Elections featured in Documentary

    Richard Drury recently completed his documentary “Challenges for Democracy”, which covers a number of voting issues. His work is available for sale, so if you support this kind of in-depth reporting, please go buy his DVD! Richard has graciously agreed to release my segment on Open-Audit Elections under a Creative Commons license. Here it is, […]

  • Salon on Voting

    T’is election season, so the press is covering voting. Cyrus again, this time on Salon, and with a fantastic article, and not just because it mentions Helios.

  • The Economist Covers Voting

    The Economist covers voting with cryptography, including some of my work. Good to see folks like the Economist paying attention… although the article misses the big point. Voting with cryptography is not about making your vote more secret. It’s about making your vote more verifiable. For those who advocate traditional paper ballots, the point is […]

  • Stop, Drop, and Register

    You need to register to vote. Not later today, not tomorrow, now. go register Oh, you think you’re already registered? verify that you are. Oh, and a fun little video:

  • Helios Voting being used for real elections

    From my Helios Blog: The Information Card Foundation is using Helios for its board election. Perfect use case: 50 people who will likely never all meet in person, but who need to vote on some issues. Helios provides them with a feature they literally could not achieve otherwise today: a secret ballot combined with real […]

  • Helios Voting Blog launched

    Helios Voting is taking on a life of its own, and it needs its own blog for updates and such. I’ll still mention the major milestones here, but if you’re following Helios more closely, you’ll want to subscribe.

  • Helios Voting System — Launched!

    I just gave my talk at Usenix Security on Helios, my new web-based voting system that supports cryptographic auditing. Since it’s web-based, you don’t want to use this for elections where coercion is a serious concern. But if you’re running an online election for your club, software community, etc.., it’s perfect. Just go to: […]

  • Benaloh strikes again

    Since I haven’t had the time to write up every talk, I’ll just highlight one talk today that I particularly enjoyed: Josh Benaloh’s paper on achieving both administrative and public verifiability in elections [PDF]. I’m a big fan of Josh’s work. My upcoming voting system implementation, Helios, is based on one of Josh’s earlier protocols. […]

  • Get Ready to be Depressed about Elections

    I’m at the Electronic Voting Technology Workshop, where I’ll be blogging a few things. Jon Krosnick of Stanford is just wrapping up a fantastic invited talk on how ballot candidate ordering influences elections… and the result is stunningly depressing: it turns out that the impact can be quite large. So large, in fact, that Jon […]

  • On Vote-By-Mail and Untimely Death

    A fantastic question: If you vote by mail, but die before Election Day, does your vote count? It depends on where you lived. Oregon counts ballots no matter what happens to the voter. So does Florida. But in South Dakota, if you die before the election, so does your vote. Increasingly popular mail-in ballots mean […]

  • Understanding the Freakonomics of the Secret Ballot

    Steven Levitt, of Freakonomics fame, considers the case of the Minnesota teen who tried to sell his vote on eBay: This guy’s hijinks did, however, give us a glimpse into the market price of a vote. The minimum bid was set at $10. Nobody bid on his item. The failure to attract bidders is consistent […]

  • Trusting the Machine

    Though I don’t think paper-trail voting machines will fully solve our voting problems, I agree with many voting activists that today’s unverified voting machines are a potential security disaster waiting to happen. That said, it’s become clear to me (and many other voting researchers) over the last few years that non-computer-scientists see the world very […]

  • My Day as an Election Clerk in Santa Clara County

    On election day for the last 4 years, I try to put aside my political preferences and my incessant blabbing about voting equipment, and I work as an election clerk at a polling station. In 2006, I worked as a precinct warden in Boston, and before that as an election clerk in Boston and Cambridge. […]

  • Make it Spicy

    The governator on how to improve voter turnout. Thanks to the interesting site Why Tuesday?

  • McLovin and Ed Helms Vote

    How can I not link to this?

  • You know it’s election season when…

    … the New York Times publishes a huge story on voting machines. To their credit, this is one of the best pieces I’ve seen to date, assuming you accept that these major publications simply refuse to talk about open-audit voting. Some great lines that mirror what I’ve said in my own talks: Part of the […]