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Consensus reached on recommendations toward the future of Internet voting
Portland, ME, July 10 – The release of The Future of Voting: End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting Specification and Feasibility Assessment Study by U.S. Vote Foundation establishes a new reference for the security, usability and transparency requirements essential to the U.S. in any consideration of Internet voting for public elections.
Developed by a team of the nation’s experts in election integrity, election administration, high-assurance systems engineering, and cryptography, the report starts from the premise that public elections in the U.S. are a matter of national security. The authors assert that Internet voting systems must be transparent and designed to run in a manner that embraces the constructs of end-to-end verifiability – a property missing from existing Internet voting systems.
An end-to-end verifiable (E2E-V) voting system allows voters to 1) check that the system recorded their votes correctly; 2) check that the system included their votes in the final tally; and 3) count the recorded votes and double-check the announced outcome of the election. The new set of system specifications that could eventually lead to a model end-to-end verifiable Internet voting (E2E-VIV) system includes an ideal cryptographic foundation, security, audit, and usability considerations, as well as technical approaches to the system architecture.
As election technology evolves and more states evaluate Internet voting, caution on compromises to integrity and security is warranted, and according to the report, should be particularly avoided by the premature deployment of Internet voting. Existing proprietary systems that meet only a subset of the requirements cannot be considered secure enough for use in the U.S.
Key recommendations in the report to make Internet voting more secure and transparent include:
- Any public elections conducted over the Internet must be end-to-end verifiable – The use of Internet voting systems without end-to-end verifiability is irresponsible, and E2E-V is the only publicly available technology that provides assurance an Internet voting system is secure and transparent.
- End-to-End Verifiable systems must be in-person and supervised first – It is critical to first enhance the security of in-person voting systems with E2E-V, and learn from its deployment, before assuming the more complex task of deploying E2E-VIV systems.
- End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting systems must be high assurance – E2E-VIV systems must be designed, constructed, verified, certified, operated and supported according to the most rigorous engineering requirements of mission- and safety-critical systems.
- End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting systems must be usable and accessible to all voters – E2E-VIV systems must ensure usability and accessibility for all voters including those with disabilities.
- Maintain aggressive election R&D efforts – Formidable challenges in usability, reliability and security remain for the development of E2E-VIV systems and will require continued peer-reviewed R&D investment.
Executive Summary: https://www.usvotefoundation.org/e2e-viv/summary
Full Report or Sections: https://www.usvotefoundation.org/E2E-VIV
“I’m proud of this team and their willingness to work together on defining the challenge of Internet voting in hardcore technical terms,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president and CEO, U.S. Vote Foundation. “Although it is not certain that a system meeting all of these requirements can be developed, or that vendors who might claim to do so will stand their systems up to testing and certification, it is a path forward.”
About The End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting (E2E-VIV) Project
Examining the viability of secure, open and transparent Internet elections drove the formation of E2E-VIV project, which was led by the U.S. Vote Foundation through their Overseas Vote initiative. The project combined the abilities, knowledge, experience and expertise of a diverse group of experts. The technical project management, report writing and production were executed by Galois, Inc. The project was funded by the Democracy Fund, a Washington D.C.-based philanthropic organization.
ABOUT U.S. VOTE FOUNDATION
U.S. Vote Foundation (US Vote) and its initiative, Overseas Vote, are dedicated to bringing a comprehensive range of best-in-class voter services to U.S. citizens residing within the U.S., living abroad or serving in the military. For additional information on U.S. Vote Foundation, please visit www.usvotefoundation.org.