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Electronic Voting

We are using advances in cryptography and system security to create convenient and secure voting methods. In the U.S., on election days, the majority of voters travel to their polling station. Unfortunately, for many others, this is a difficult or impossible task. Whether someone is an expatriate, military, impaired, or simply busy, we want to maximize the number of engaged eligible voters and minimize cost and complexity for election officials. Our internet voting research will provide the ability to securely cast a ballot from an untrustworthy computer, such as a laptop or a cellphone.

Secure internet voting can also provide personal safety to an electorate. While not a great risk for American voters, there have been global instances in the past where efforts of young democracies have been threatened by groups which use violence to prevent or disrupt elections. In cases where the act of voting brings risk of harm, the ability to remotely and securely cast a ballot will be invaluable.

Enabling secure internet voting is challenging. It is generally believed—and often legally required—that regardless of the voting method used, the method should have the following properties:

  • Voters must be able to verify that their vote was not changed.
  • Voters must be able to verify that their vote was counted correctly.
  • Only registered voters should be able to cast votes.
  • It should be impossible for one person to cast multiple votes.
  • The voting method must prevent coercion and vote selling.
  • The losing candidate must be convinced that they indeed lost.

Whether someone is an expatriate, military, impaired, or simply busy, we want to maximize the number of engaged eligible voters and minimize cost and complexity for election officials.

Whenever the topic of internet voting arises, people often jump to the subject of an untrusted or compromised voting client. From the previous list of attributes, it is clear that overcoming a malicious client is only part of the challenge. Indeed, our internet voting research is focused on building systems that deliver the above properties even when the voting client and one or more of the election servers are compromised and untrustworthy.