Electronic Voting Systems—How to Build for Trust

John Sebes, Open Source Digital Voting Foundation

Abstract: Considerable attention has been paid to security flaws in current electronic voting systems, begging the question, what does "secure" mean for voting systems? We'll discuss this question from the viewpoints of:

  • (a) blank slate—new systems rather than security retrofits of existing systems
  • (b) fundamental process requirements—trust in voting systems supports public confidence in election results.
To preface the discussion, I'll outline a brief history of the current generation of voting technology, why it fails to meet fundamental requirements, and a sketch of a different path to meeting those requirements. In the course of our meeting, we'll discuss the following questions, and (I expect) a variety of possible answers to them: why are current voting systems so clearly unsuitable for the task and yet increasingly used? what would a "suitable" system look like? when someone claims to have a suitable system, how would one assess that claim? and how would someone build such a system, if such assessments were required?

Time and Place

8 April 2008 (Tuesday) at 1630 hrs
Gates 4B (opposite 490)