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Electronic Voting Protocols

 

Problem Description

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E-voting is a
term including several different types of voting, taking up both electronic
means of casting a vote and electronic means of counting votes. E-voting technology
can include punch cards, optical scan voting systems and specialized voting
kiosks comprising (DRE) voting systems. It can also involve transmission of
ballots and votes via telephones, private computer network or the Internet. E-voting
technology can speed up the counting of ballots and provide improved accessibility
for disabled voters. However, electronic voting is could also facilitate
electoral fraud. In this survey the student will perform a study of modern technologies
and solution for E-voting.

Abstract

E-voting
protocols aim at attaining a wide range of refined security properties and consequently,
usually employ advanced cryptographic primitives. This makes their design as
well as rigorous analysis quite challenging. As a matter of fact, existing
automated analysis techniques, which are mostly based on automated theorem
provers, are inadequate to deal with commonly used cryptographic primitives,
such as homomorphic encryption and mix-nets, as well as some fundamental
security properties, such as verifiability.

The last decade,
electronic voting has evolved from being a mean of counting votes to also offer
the possibility of electronically casting votes. From recording votes using
punch cards and optical scan systems, electronic voting has evolved into the
use of direct-recording-electronic machines. Voting over the Internet has also
become a hot research topic, and some implementation and testing have been
done. Internet voting systems are significantly more vulnerable to threats from
external attackers, than systems to cast ballots in controlled environments.
Mechanisms to provide security, accuracy and verification are critical, and
issues with coercion and usability also arise. In the first part of this survey
has given a theoretical study about existing electronic voting techniques, as
well as requirements and security issues of modern electronic voting systems.
We also give a brief background theory of some cryptographic mechanisms and
systems

Secondly, we
present two modern voting solutions in development. We have included security
functionalities provided by the system, the cryptographic techniques used and
some threats and attacks to the systems. These systems can be exposed to
compromised computers, ballot stuffing, and corrupt infrastructure players, but
are using cryptographic proofs to ensure accuracy and counter attacks.

In the third
part, we create a procedure and perform a usability test on one of these modern
voting solutions. Our findings emphasize the fact that there is a tension
between verifiable elections and usability. The voters have trust n the privacy
and accuracy of such a voting systems if more guidance to utilize the means of
verification is included, and a trusted third party verifies he system
security. The advantages of electronic voting outweigh the risks. Internet
voting is a term of further discussion and testing, but considering coercion
and the insecure aspects of the medium, Internet voting will never be 100%
safe. It is a question of trade o_ between the advantages and threats.

Introduction

As technology
has moved forward in several aspects of our lives, the increase in use of mechanics
and electronics has also emerged. During the last five or ten years, one of the
global buzzwords has been ‘E’
short from electronic, that signifies almost everything, connected with
(inter)networking. The ubiquity of ‘e’ is caused by the global penetration of
the Internet, and already in many places of the world, by easier availability
of Internet-based services, compared to the traditional services. Numerous
e-processes are already taking place, starting from e-banking and ending with
(in some countries) e-government. This had led to the situation where one wants
to ‘e-ise’ most of the processes and services that can be found in a modern
society. After all, moving to the e-services helps one to cut down costs and
save time. Additionally, it makes it possible for more and more people to
become a part of the global society, and to benefit from its services. Not
surprisingly, also ‘e-ising (nation-wide or local) elections promises to give
measurable benefits. The very basic idea of the elections is to give every
citizen of a country (or some other political unit) an equal right when
deciding about the future of their country. To guarantee equal rights, it is
essential to achieve a high voter turnout. As the most extreme case, look at an
imaginary political system that has only two parties with election where
‘winner takes all’. If only 51% of the voters vote and the winning party collect
51% of the participating votes, the resulting government does not necessarily
represent the majority of the citizens.

An E-voting
(Electronic voting) system is a voting system in which the election data is
recorded, stored and processed primarily as digital information. The research
on E-voting is a very important topic for the progress of democracy. Electronic
voting systems claim to be at least as secure as traditional voting systems
like paper ballots. In fact paper ballots have many security issues. Electronic
voting technology at polling stations can speed up the counting

of ballots and
provide improved accessibility for disabled voters. A voting

system providing
remote voting via the Internet could improve the accessibility

and provide an
even more convenient voting process. It might also lead

to greater voter
turnout in elections, as well as phase out existing cumbersome

(and insecure)
processes of absentee voting, which in US still is done by mail

1.1           
Historical
Background

The birth of
democracy was in Athens in the sixth century B.C. where the first form of
electoral laws was introduced. Since that time, electoral systems have been
designed and developed according to the characteristics of the countries in
democratic governments around the world. In many countries, interest in
e-Voting is growing very rapidly. The number of E-voting experiments taking
place is also growing with different approaches and motivations of each
country. By closely studying these experiences, it is possible to learn new and
interesting lessons, lead to different schemes, and create a valid E-voting
system.

In March 2000 the Arizona Democratic Party ran its Presidential Primary over the internet using the private company votation.com. Each
registered member of the party received a personal identification number in the mail. These citizens had the option to
either cast ballots at a designated location or over the internet from the
comfort of their own home. Voters voting over the internet were required to
insert their PIN and answer two personal questions. Once all the information is
verified, they have the voting options

E-Voting
machines were in use in the Netherlands for 20 years, with nearly the whole
population vote using one of the DRE (Direct Recording Equipment/Electronic)
voting systems available to vote. The introduction of this technology in the
1980s was not preceded by a public debate. In 2006, 90% of all votes in the
Netherlands were expressed on the computer

By
2009, Estonia had
advanced the farthest in utilizing Internet voting technology. In
Estonia, each voter has a national ID card that they use to identify each
citizen. The ID card is the security Estonia put in to ensure reliability in
votes. Security officials said that they have not detected any unusual activity
or tampering of the votes. E-Voting types fall into two major
categories:

On-site
e-Voting:

Supervised by
representatives of government with e-Voting machines at the polling station

Remote e-Voting

It not
physically supervised like voting using computer via the internet, using mobile
phones via SMS, or at public kiosks).

2. Requirements
of E-voting

Requirements of
traditional voting (paper ballot) are also valid for e-Voting like complying
with the principles of non-discrimination and democratic elections. Any voting
system must meet the following requirements

·       
Only
eligible voters can participate.

·       
No
voter should be able to vote more than once.

·       
the
system should function without compromising votes, even if system failure
occurs

·       
The
votes are properly recorded.

·       
Votes
cannot be edited or deleted.

·       
The
system should be usable by different types of voters (support multilingual
voting ballots, accommodate disabilities by audio or visual features, support
different input methods, etc.)

·       
Electoral
systems should not require additional skills to be usable without unreasonable
need for equipment.

·       
Voters
should be able to understand the overall system

·       
Votes
should be secret and a voter must not have a record of voting choices.

·       
Each
voter has the right to cast his vote secretly, and no one should be able to
relate a voter to his/her vote.

·       
The
citizen must be able to vote without being forced by the government to vote for
a particular candidate.

·       
The
system has the ability to verify that votes are properly counted.

The system must be tested by election
officials.

 

 

1.4 Limitations

The area of electronic voting is
extensive and complex. This survey describes

several modern technologies for
electronic voting, but mostly the _eld of remote

Internet voting is further
considered. Only two Internet voting systems

and their security solutions are
presented. Security or accuracy of other

existing techniques or solutions
are not further explored.

Regarding the “E-Vote
2011” system in development, the information is

based partially on available
information and updates from the project’s web

site and the proposed solution
from the chosen contractor. The solution

and documentation might change
during the development phase approaching

the test in 2011. All
documentation will be available for analysis before

deployment, but
now changes are still being made.

.

Related work We can
roughly divide the literature into protocols suitable

for voting booths 7, 8,
and protocols suitable for remote internet voting

2, 9,
18, 20, 23, although protocols often share certain building blocks

7:David Chaum.
Secret-ballot receipts: True voter-veri_able elections. IEEE

Security
& Privacy, 2(1):38{47, 2004.

8:David Chaum, Peter Y. A.
Ryan, and Steve A. Schneider. A practical voterveri

_able election scheme. In
Sabrina De Capitani di Vimercati, Paul F.

Syverson, and Dieter
Gollmann, editors, ESORICS, volume 3679 of Lecture

Notes
in Computer Science, pages 118{139. Springer, 2005.

9:Ronald Cramer, Matthew
K. Franklin, Berry Schoenmakers, and Moti

Yung. Multi-autority
secret-ballot elections with linear work. In Ueli M.

Maurer, editor, EUROCRYPT, volume
1070 of Lecture Notes in Computer

Science, pages
72{83. Springer, 1996.

23:C. Andrew Ne_. A
veri_able secret shu_e and its application to e-voting.

In ACM
Conference on Computer and Communications Security, pages

116{125,
2001.

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