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Improving Participating in Democracy by Distributed Voting Schema

Improving Participating in Democracy by Distributed Voting Schema

Radek Šilhavý | 6. 12. 2009 16:01:44
Zařazení: Informatika|Číslo 1/2009|Vědecká stať


Radek Šilhavý

Tomas Bata University in Zlin

Faculty of Applied Informatics

There are several methods how to improve voting process. One, of the most appropriate is the remote internet voting. The remote internet voting allows to voters, which are not in their election district, take a part in the democracy process. The most import issues in the internet voting are security, privacy and auditability of the remote voting process. The remote voting process brings some advantages and disadvantages.

Introduction

There are several methods of remote voting. Many countries have been dealing the benefits of remote voting. Every country uses individual ideas for remote voting. Very few countries have been working on the internet based voting system. Postal voting is used in majority of countries. Some of them allow to vote by fax or by e-mail.

Whereas, internet based solution of the remote voting is under investigation. The internet voting solution allows voting through the internet network. The remote internet voting has been attracting considerable attention during the last few years. Remote voting solution allows taking part in election process with respect to personal attraction and to the physical accessibility of polling stations, which may possibly prevent citizens from casting their votes.

Participation decreasing for past ten years in the countries belongs to European Union. Beyond popularity of the internet-based services stabile increase.

Researching of suitability of electronic voting solution is forced by necessity of the improvement election process. The is based on topical investigation of voting process and their implementation of using modern information and communication technology. The Distributed Voting Schema (DVS) allows voters, who are not in their election district, to participate in the democracy process. The aim of this contribution is to describe results of the development of the DVS solutions.

The organization of this contribution is as follows. Chapter 1 describes the electronic voting approaches and conditions for electronic voting systems. Chapter 2 describes the DVS architecture. Finally chapter 3 is the discussion.

Electronic voting approaches

Internet voting solutions are usually divided the tree basic categories — poll site, kiosk and remote voting.

In the poll site voting, election technology is located in the election rooms. Comparing poll site voting to traditional paper-form voting, poll site brings more flexibility and usability, because voters are allow to vote from elections room up to their choice. There is no restriction to geographical locations. Poll site voting represents concept of the electronic voting. Poll site voting is effective in votes casting and tallying, because it allows certain and quicker processes.

Internet concepts allow expanding poll site voting to self-service kiosks. These kiosks should be placed in various locations. Elections room is usually monitored by authorities — local election committee, kiosk should be monitored by physical attendance or by using security cameras.

Remote internet voting is probably the most attracting methods of using internet voting process. Remote voting expands remote voting schemas which are used in some countries. These schemas compared to postal voting, offers improved casting ballots from remote locations. Voter are allows to vote from home, office or other places, which are equipped by computers and internet connections.

Conditions for voting systems

There are several conditions for electronic voting systems. The law in the country has to support the electronic voting systems. The internet voting solution has to follow the technical and process conditions listed below:

1.      Participation in the voting process is granted only for registered voters.

2.      Each voter has to vote only once.

3.      Each voter has to vote personally.

4.      Security and anonymity of voters and voting.

5.      Security for the electronic ballot box.

The first condition for electronic voting means, the voter should be registered by voting committee in the list of voters. This list is used as the basis for distribution of log-in information. If the voter is registered, they will be able to display the relevant list of parties and candidates.

Voters could also vote more than once, but only the last attempt will be included in the final results of the election. This possibility varies in different e-voting systems. If it is not possible to vote more than once, there should be more complicated protection for the election against manipulation and assisted voting.

The third condition — Right to vote personally — is closely connected to the previous. On the other hand this is the basic responsibility of each voter to protect his private zone for voting — in the case of the internet-based remote voting. In the “in-site” voting the system of privacy protection will be similar to the current situation.

Security and anonymity of voters and voting is probably the most important issue in the electronic voting process. The appropriate voting system should be realized in two separate parts. The first part should be responsible for authorization of the voter and the second for storing votes. Therefore the system will support anonymity. The voter should check his vote by the list of collected votes. The unique identification of vote will be known by the voter only. The voting process will be protected by using a cryptographic principle. One of the many applicable solutions is Private Key Infrastructure. This approach deals with two pairs of keys in the first part of voting system — for authorization. In the second part of voting system — storing votes — it should deals with a public key for protection of the vote in the transport canal.

The electronic ballot box should form as a database. Votes in the database will be ciphered by the public key of the election committee. The private key, which is necessary for decrypting votes, will be held by members of the committee. Each member will hold only part of the key.

By investigation of these conditions and by the determination of the initial technological principles, authorities will be able to establish law to support the electronic voting system. The voting public’s consensus to the electronic voting is quite important for the parliament process too.

Architecture Description

The web-based approach is useful for electronic voting systems. This technology is based on a client-server. The client-server technology has advantages in the field of support and installation.

Distributed Voting Scheme system consists four main parts:

1.      Voting Client Subsystem (VCS)

2.      Voting Application Subsystem (VAS) and Ballot Database Subsystem (BDS).

3.      Voting Backend Subsystem (VBS) and Tallying Database Subsystem (TDS).

4.      Voting Results Subsystem (VRS)


Figure 1: Voting System Architecture

In the figure 1 can be seen Voting System Architecture. Voting Architecture three separate parts are recognized. Part A is used for casting votes and contains Voting Client Subsystem, Voting Application Subsystem and Voting Database Subsystem. Voting clients represent voting terminal in elections rooms, kiosk voting or voters own computers.

Voting Application Subsystem is represented by web-based application, which contains user interface for voters, voter validation services and communication interface for Ballot Database Subsystem.

There are two most significant tasks for BDS. Votes are cast there and default ballots are generated for individual voter. Votes are cast in encrypted form, which depends on cryptographic methodology adopted for the election. For the protection against manipulation with votes in BDS HASH algorithm is implemented. HASH value is calculated irregularly based on votes, which are cast. Default ballots are generated for individual voter with respect to the election district he belongs to.

Part B represents Backend Voting Subsystem and Tallying Database Subsystem. The part B is securely connect to BDS from part A. The BVS is used my electoral committee. The BDS is responsible for auditing elections by comparing HASH based on votes and stored HASH value. The BVS deals with decryption of votes, validating of them and storing in TDS. The TDS is used for storing votes in open form. Part B is realized as web-based application and relational database server. Final part — part C — is responsible for counting final Results of the election. Part C is realized as web-based application.


Figure 2: Workflow of the vote

In the figure 2 is shown workflow description of individual vote through the Voting System.

Discussion

The idea of the research was to discuss a group of basic issues, which are connected to the internet voting. Remote voting seems to be more problematic in case of security or privacy. Privacy issue should be illustrated by assisted voting, which occasionally occurs in families. Increasing participation, in connection to the internet voting, is ambiguous; comparing postal voting in mid-ninety. Therefore countries have researched the next improvements of remote internet voting solutions.

Every country uses individual ways to solve remote voting problems. Increasing internet access, in other hand, supports popularity of the remote internet voting. Other methods are using the public communication network too. The remote internet voting method should be attracted by denial-of-service attack or by several types of viruses. Therefore, voters could also vote more than once, but only the last attempt will be included in the final results of the election. If it is not possible to vote more than once, there should be more complicated protection for the election against manipulation and assisted voting.

References:

  • Alexander Prosser, Robert Krimmer (Eds.): Electronic Voting in Europe - Technology, Law, Politics and Society, Workshop of the ESF TED Programme together with GI and OCG, July, 7th-9th, 2004, in Schloß Hofen / Bregenz, Lake of Constance, Austria, Proceedings. GI 2004, ISBN 3-88579-376-8
  • Leenes, R., Svensson, K.: Adapting E-voting in Europe: Context matters.Proceedings of EGPA, 2002.
  • Commission on Electronic Voting: Secrecy, Accuracy and Testing of the Chosen Electronic Voting System. Dublin, 2006, available at http://www.cev.ie/htm/report/download_second.htm accessed on 2007-06-06.
  • Chevallier, M.: Internet voting: Status; perspectives and Issues, ITU E-Government Workshop, Geneva, 6 June 2003, available at: http://www.geneve.ch/chancellerie/EGovernment/doc/UIT_6_6_03_web.ppt accessed on 2007-06-06.
  • VVK [online]. 2007 [cit. 2007-11-02]. Accessible on WWW: <http://www.vvk.ee/english/results.pdf>.

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