Saturday, February 28, 2004

Computerworld - Feburary 25, 2004

Ronald Rivest, co-creator of the RSA encryption algorithm, who I'm guessing knows more about computer security and crypto than all the e-voting company "experts" combined.

Speaking to an audience of fellow cryptographers and security experts, Rivest cautioned against the "digitizing" of votes. "We know only too well the difficulties of securing complex electronic systems," Rivest said. Technology companies and municipalities should "go slow," and "keep it simple," relying on paper ballots and audit trails to verify the data collected by electronic voting kiosks, he said.

from Crypto stars sound off on e-voting, digital rights management

Electoral Reform Society - Independent Commission on Alternative Voting Methods

l'Etat de Genève (Geneva)

Various links and information at

The Landesbetrieb für Datenverarbeitung und Statistik (LDS) Land Brandenburg

Google translation of www.brandenburg.de/evoting/ to English.

The site also provides a link to an English language report
e-voting in Germany: LDS actions (Central Authority for IT and statistics) (PDF)


They have e-voting news links as well as a report
e-Voting.at conducts first online election in Austria

In a test election parallel to the Student Union election at the WU Vienna in May 2003 the possibility to cast votes electronically (e-voting) will be available for the first time in Austria. A prototype developed at the WU Vienna by Prof. Prosser and his research group e-Voting.at is used that has been funded by the Anniversary Fund of the City of Vienna.

This system implements an absentee voting procedure and is based on the Austrian National ID Card ("Bürgerkarte"): Before Election Day the voter applies for the issuing of an electronic voting token, that is saved on the National ID Card. On Election Day only this electronic voting token is supplied by the voter to prove his right to cast a vote. Special cryptographic methods ensure strict voter anonymity and the non-repudiability of the results.
As if electronic voting machines didn't already have enough security issues...

New Scientist - 20 January 2004
Wireless e-voting machines raise concern

Computer scientists are concerned that new electronic voting machines - already bought by several US states - have been designed to have the capability to transmit vote tallies wirelessly.

Critics of e-voting have previously cited uncertified software upgrades or bugs in the programs as problems, but they say the new touchscreen machines' wireless potential poses a novel security threat.

The makers of the new machines, Diebold Electronic Voting Systems in Canton, Ohio, point out that none of the AccuVote-TSx machines currently contain the matchbox-sized card required to make a wireless network connection.

But, unlike their predecessors, they do have a slot for the card, called a PCMCIA slot. And Diebold spokesperson Mark Radke told New Scientist that wireless capability could be implemented "if required by the jurisdiction" simply by inserting a card and configuring the machine.

It's a good thing wireless is so incredibly secure.
Oh wait, I mean incredibly insecure.
U.S. Public Policy Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery
Policy Brief: E-Voting Technology and Standards

Wired News - Nov. 03, 2003
Aussies Do It Right: E-Voting

Although a private Australian company designed the system, it was based on specifications set by independent election officials, who posted the code on the Internet for all to see and evaluate. What's more, it was accomplished from concept to product in six months. It went through a trial run in a state election in 2001.

Critics say the development process is a model for how electronic voting machines should be made in the United States.

Called eVACS, or Electronic Voting and Counting System, the system was created by a company called Software Improvements to run on Linux, an open-source operating system available on the Internet.


The commission posted drafts as well as the finished software code on the Internet for the public to review.

The site for the software along with information about the system is
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Electoral Commission Electronic voting and counting.

I still think paper is best, but this does seem to be a model of good practices for e-voting software developing, if you're hell-bent on having electronic voting.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in the US has a nice page on E-voting.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

PBS - February 7, 2004
Online NewsHour: Early Efforts at Internet Voting
Online NewsHour: The challenges to Internet voting

PBS - December 16, 2003
The Battle Over Voting Technology

Black Box Notes reports that PBS has launched a US Election site that gathers together all their various coverage.
A brief news item in Information Security magazine: Data Assurance: E-Voting Still Up for Grabs

With the presidential primaries underway, the security of electronic voting still hangs like a chad in the political air.

For months now, computer security experts have butted heads with state and federal elections officials over how best to assure tamperproof e-ballots without creating voting chaos, as was the case with paper-and-punch-hole votes during the 2000 presidential election that led to the reforms.

But just as more citizens anticipate voting booths with touch screens, rather than tilting levers, much remains uncertain about the security of e-voting data and whether cash-strapped municipalities can meet recommended, potentially costly security standards.

Diluting confidence was last month's admission from VoteHere Inc., a Washington-based company that develops security technology for election voting, that sensitive software blueprints were stolen during an attack last fall. That intrusion may be linked to the March 2003 theft of source code from Diebold Election Systems of Ohio, which was broadcast on the Internet and found to contain serious security vulnerabilities.

At a recent symposium sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, security experts advocated better products -- not just procedures -- to ensure accurate and auditable e-votes.

"Good procedures are no excuse for deploying machines that are grossly insecure," says Avi Rubin, technical director for Johns Hopkins University's Information Security Institute.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Election Data Services has various information about elections in the US, including a report on voting equipment. Via Macintouch.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

eGovernment Resource Centre: eVoting

Lots of good links.
Louise Ferguson's Electronic Voting and Usability has lots of good links and up-to-date news about e-voting in general, as well as the specific focus on usability.

Dans un premier temps, le projet "Vote électronique" de la Chancellerie fédérale a pour but de provoquer la discussion politique ainsi que de suivre et d'évaluer des essais-pilote permettant de trouver une réponse aux différentes questions soulevées par ces nouvelles technologies.

Après évaluation des essais-pilote, il s'agira de prendre les décisions politiques nécessaires à l'introduction du vote électronique.

Vote électronique
There was an EU project called CyberVote.
The mysterious wisdom of Google AdSense

[AdSense voting]
IEEE Security and Privacy - January/February 2004
Special issue on E-voting Security

Only the editorial E-Voting Security is available online for free, for the rest you need a subscription (or access through university library etc.)

You can see all the articles listed in the Table of Contents.
The 12th USENIX Security Symposium (2003) had a panel on Electronic Voting. The papers won't be available online to non-USENIX members until August 2004.

You can read a conference summary
Very nice crypto/academic oriented list of links on Electronic Voting.

Monday, February 23, 2004


Cullen to take e-vote proposals to Cabinet

Opposition parties have urged Mr Cullen to defer the introduction of electronic voting, which is due to go nationwide in next June's local and European elections.

Via Google News Alert.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

New Zealand

www.cio.com.au (CIO Government) - 05/02/2004
NZ readies e-vote pilot as US wavers. Via Google NewsAlerts.

As misgivings about online voting systems grow in the US, New Zealand’s chief electoral office intends pressing ahead with an e-voting pilot in one electorate for the 2008 general election.

Such a limited initiative will allow any mishaps or disputes over electronic votes to be contained, says the chief electoral office’s manager of electoral events, Robert Peden.
Ireland and EU

Politics.ie - Thursday, February 19 2004
Government leaves behind consensus on electronic voting - ICTE

Ireland On-Line Headlines - 19/02/2004
Opposition motion on electronic voting defeated in Dáil

The Government has defeated an opposition motion calling for electronic voting to be deferred until an independent electoral commission has been established to oversee it.

The motion tabled by Fine Gael, the Labour Party and the Green Party was defeated by 59 votes to 55.

Speaking for the Government, Junior Minister Pat "the Cope" Gallagher accused the opposition of trying to cast a shadow over a perfectly good system.

He also said he believed the public was happy with the electronic voting system, despite the absence of a paper trail to verify results.

Irish Citizens for Trustworthy Evoting (ICTE) [will add to sidebar]

In 2002, the Irish government began the introduction of the Nedap/Powervote system, for electronic voting in the Republic of Ireland. We believe that this system poses a threat to our democracy.

Mailing list for ICTE

free e-democracy project Resolution on voter verifiable e-voting

Electronic voting is being rushed upon voters around the world with little regard for the risks and the costs to our democracies. In Europe, the UK and Denmark are holding e-voting trials as part of the 2004 European elections. France, Spain and Ireland have also held trials. E-voting is already established in Belgium and Switzerland. The European Commission is looking at introducing e-voting across the EU, and the Council of Europe is developing guidelines for elections involving e-voting.

We feel that voters and candidates must be able to feel certain that voting intentions are accurately recorded. If any doubts do arise then all stakeholders must be able to verify and audit all aspects of the election.

Editor's note: I personally am opposed to all technological voting. A paper ballot is self-validating.
Center for American Progress - February 18, 2004
Election Reform: Show Me the Money. Via Globalize This!
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