Tuesday, August 05, 2008

ACCURATE build research prototype robust evoting machine

Dan Wallach and the folks at ACCURATE have built a research prototype VoteBox: a tamper-evident, verifiable electronic voting system. Abstract of the paper describing it:

"Commercial electronic voting systems have experienced
many high-profile software, hardware, and usability failures
in real elections. While it is tempting to abandon
electronic voting altogether, we show how a careful application
of distributed systems and cryptographic techniques
can yield voting systems that surpass current systems
and their analog forebears in trustworthiness and usability.
We have developed the VoteBox, a complete electronic
voting system that combines several recent e-voting
research results into a coherent whole that can provide
strong end-to-end security guarantees to voters. VoteBox
machines are locally networked and all critical election
events are broadcast and recorded by every machine on
the network. VoteBox network data, including encrypted
votes, can be safely relayed to the outside world in real
time, allowing independent observers with personal computers
to validate the system as it is running. We also
allow any voter to challenge a VoteBox, while the election
is ongoing, to produce proof that ballots are cast as intended.
The VoteBox design offers a number of pragmatic
benefits that can help reduce the frequency and impact of
poll worker or voter errors."

Sounds promising , especially from an auditing and live operational challenge perspective, but it still doesn't get away from the problem of the handful of techies being the only ones who really understand what is going on inside the machine.

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