What is this project about? What will you do?
The project is called End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting: Specification and Feasibility Assessment Study (E2E VIV Project) and will examine a form of remote voting that enables a so-called “end-to-end verifiability” (E2E) property. A team of experts in computer science, usability, and auditing together with a selection of local election officials from key counties around the U.S. will assemble for this study. The project involves system specification and testing only.
Everyone throws around the term “E2E”, but what is it really?
The term E2E is often used casually without precision. E2E-verifiability is considered a property of an election and for the purposes of this study, an E2E-verifiable election has two important components: first, that voters can individually check that their ballots are cast as they intend; and second, that anyone can check that all of the cast ballots have been accurately tallied.
What is different here? What do you expect to accomplish? Why try such a thing?
There is a justifiably negative reflex response to Internet voting: it takes all of the problems with current remote voting systems and adds all of the problems and security vulnerabilities of the Internet.
In this study, we are taking a research based approach to the question of voting over the Internet. We aim to examine whether use of the Internet enables and facilitates the introduction of E2E-verifiability and if the benefits of E2E-verifiability may be able to overcome the vulnerabilities introduced by using the Internet.
No participant on this project discounts the concerns of voting over the Internet, nor do they view E2E-verifiability as a magic essence that makes the Internet secure.
Nevertheless they believe that E2E-verifiability warrants examination in regards to the properties it achieves. These properties are achieved even when votes are cast on untrusted devices like PCs and transmitted over an untrusted medium such as the Internet.
Are you attempting to make a “secure” Internet?
This project does not attempt to make the Internet secure. E2E-verifiability negates many, although not all, of the risks of voting via the Internet while introducing substantial new benefits that are not found in currently-deployed voting systems.
What will be produced from this effort?
We expect to produce a report presenting a set of system specifications to create a secure E2E VIV system, a set of testing specifications to demonstrate the security, a set of guidelines for system usability, accessibility, and testing. Additional topics and analyses may be considered and discussed in the report, such as legal and administrative challenges, and ballot secrecy, privacy, and confidentiality.
Who is funding this project?
The Democracy Fund has awarded a grant to Overseas Vote Foundation to execute this research project.
Who can I contact for more information?
Please email info (at) overseasvotefoundation.org with your questions or comments.