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

Quick Thoughts from EVT Day #2

I gave an invited talk on crypto voting. Ran out of time, as usual. I need to find a way to describe this stuff more efficiently. Later, I also presented MarkPledge2, joint work with Andy Neff. Olivier de Marneffe presented the UCL/Helios implementation. So much material to present there, he did a fantastic job of focusing on the core parts. Ari Feldman presented some work on surprising covert channels on the bulletin board. Seems like one of the good themes for the year. Vanessa Teague delved into the details of Pret-a-Voter voting. Missed a couple of talks after lunch as … Continue reading Quick Thoughts from EVT Day #2

EVT/WOTE 2009, Day 1, Afternoon

I had to miss the first afternoon session of EVT/WOTE to attend WOOT (Workshop on Offensive Technologies) where Adam was presenting a paper Collin and I co-authored on hijacking bookmarklets (I wrote about this work a few months ago). Sadly, I missed what I hear were two great talks. Oh well, hopefully they’ll be on video. I’m back in EVT/WOTE now. Eric Rescorla revisits the idea of ballot-based auditing (as opposed to precinct-based). But really, Eric, this stuff works best when you sprinkle in some crypto 🙂 Ersin Ă–ksĂĽzoǧlu explores how to implement VoteBox on FPGA, aka. VoteBox Nano. Interesting … Continue reading EVT/WOTE 2009, Day 1, Afternoon

EVT/WOTE 2009, Day 1, Morning

I’m at the Electronic Voting Technology / Workshop on Trustworthy Elections get-together (in Montreal). A few thoughts about the day and talks. Keynote Larry Norden from the Brennan Center is proposing a few ideas about what the voting community should focus on. Voting machine security, including forensics. Thinks statistical analyses to detect fraud is going to become increasingly important (e.g. Iran). Doubts that election officials in the US will care until there’s a big meltdown. The battle for paper-based voting records has been won in the US (Holt Bill). Some resistance to paper because of cost. Need a convincing cost … Continue reading EVT/WOTE 2009, Day 1, Morning

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 UniversitĂ© 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

Open-Audit Voting means a Single Vote Counts

After an incredibly long and busy week of work for my colleagues Olivier Pereira and Olivier de Marneffe, the UCL election, based on Helios, has been verified and tallied. The trustees arrived earlier today and successfully decrypted the result. Students each got approximately 1/10 of a vote, while Faculty got a full vote. 4000 people voted, which resulted, after weights were applied, to 1111 votes cast. The candidate with the highest number of votes received 555.44 votes, which is barely one vote short of an absolute majority. If 6 more students had voted, they might have affected the result. If … Continue reading Open-Audit Voting means a Single Vote Counts