Consensus Reached on Recommendations Toward the Future of Internet Voting

USVoteFoundationThe U.S. Vote Foundation has released a report on the feasibility and requirements for Internet voting:  <press release> <report summary> <full report>  This is the result of about eighteen months of work by computer scientists, security experts, and election officials.  The goal was to answer definitively once and for all if Internet voting was feasible today or in the future.

The short version is the Internet voting is not ready for prime time, not ready for democracy. Yet, it is possible in the future that a system may be developed which could provide safe Internet voting.  The paper lays out the requirements and testing criteria for such a system.

(Internet voting includes online voting, email voting, and fax voting).

From the press release:

Developed by a team of the nation’s leading 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…

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. The report aims to list the security challenges that exist with Internet voting and emphasizes that research should continue as the threat landscape continues to shift. 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

  • End-to-End Verifiable systems must be in-person and supervised first

  • End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting systems must be high assurance

  • End-to-End Verifiable Internet Voting systems must be usable and accessible to all voters

  • Maintain aggressive election R&D efforts

I would recommend that anyone supporting Internet voting read the Press Release, Summary, and Full Report and then recruit experts of equal credibility to do the work and make an equally compelling case refuting this report

 

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