Trustworthy Voting Systems

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Computing Science

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

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Benaloh J (2017) A Vote of Confidence? in IEEE Security & Privacy

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Burton C (2016) vVote: Verifiable Electronic Voting in Practice in IEEE Security & Privacy

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Chris Culnane, David Bismark, James Heather, Steve Schneider, Sriram Srinivasan And Zhe Xia (2011) Authentication Codes in USENIX Electronic Voting Technology/Workshop on Trustworthy Elections

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Chris Culnane, James Heather, Rui Joaquim, Peter Y.A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, And Vanessa Teague (2013) Faster Print on Demand for Pret a Voter in USENIX Journal of Elections Technology and Systems

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Chris Culnane, James Heather, Steve Schneider And Zhe Xia (2013) Software Design for VEC vVote System

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Craig Burton, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Thea Peacock, Peter Y.A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Sriram Srinivasan, Vanessa Teague, Roland Wen And Zhe Xia (2012) Using Pret a Voter in Victoria State Elections in USENIX Electronic Voting Technology/Workshop on Trustworthy Elections

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Craig Burton, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Thea Peacock, Peter Y.A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Sriram Srinivasan, Vanessa Teague, Roland Wen And Zhe Xia (2012) A supervised verifiable voting protocol for the Victorian Electoral Commission in 5th International Conference on Electronic Voting

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Culnane C (2015) vVote A Verifiable Voting System in ACM Transactions on Information and System Security

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Demirel D (2012) E-Voting and Identity

 
Description A verifiable electronic voting system allows voters and the general public to verify that the voting system has properly collected and processed the votes. Voters can check that their votes have been correctly included in the tally, and anyone can check that the result has been calculated correctly. Verifiability allows voters to have confidence that the system does not have bugs that affect the election, and that it has not been hacked or manipulated. It must do this while maintaining secrecy of the vote.

This grant has investigated the nature of verifiable voting in the polling place, and has developed the design for a verifiable voting system, which has been implemented for use in the November 2014 State election in the State of Victoria, Australia.

The project has made a number of contributions to the foundations of verifiable voting. One aspect of this is the formal modelling and analysis of protocols for verifiable voting systems, so that the designs are mathematically analysed to ensure that they are logically correct.

The basic approach has been extended so that it can handle preference voting, where voters rank the candidates in order rather than simply selecting one. Advances have been made on particular elements of the design. These include a robust and secure concurrent design for the Web Bulletin Board, a component for reliably receiving and publicly posting election information; print-on-demand, which allows ballot papers to be printed on request (at vote time) rather than ahead of the election, in a way that preserves the required secrecy levels; and a method for handling preference voting that scales up to large numbers of candidates, while maintaining the efficiency of the election.

A variety of interfaces have been investigated and the research has discovered some novel approaches, including voting through a surface, and voting using a tablet, the use of authentication codes, write-ins (which are used in US elections).

User trials and focus groups have been used to identify voters' understanding of the verifiability mechanism.
Exploitation Route The developed code is all open source (GPL) and can be taken forward by others.
Sectors Government, Democracy and Justice

 
Description The findings from the project have been used as the basis for the world's first practical and scalable end-to-end verifiable voting system for a political election. The State of Victoria, Australia, decided in 2012 to use our design for the electronic voting system used for their State Election in November 2014. Hence the impact was on public policy and on secure electronic elections. The system provides accessibility for blind, partially sighted and motor impaired voters; voters for whom English is not their first language; and voters out of state and overseas. The verifiability of the system ensures that voters and observers can verify the integrity of the election. The findings regarding verifiable voting had an impact on Australian public policy: they were used by the Victorian State Parliament in their decision to proceed with verifiable electronic voting. The verifiable voting system software developed within the project has been made available as open source. The Web Bulletin Board developed for this project is an instance of a Distributed Ledger Technology, with specific properties approprate to electronic voting. This realisation has led to further research in Distributed Ledger Technologies
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Provision of Annex 4 Technology Report in Sir Ken Knight Electronic Balloting Review
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668942/e-balloting-review-...
 
Description Victoria Policy on evoting
Geographic Reach Australia 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact This provides the ability to provide electronic voting in a secure and verifiable way in the State of Victoria, Australia. This enables accessible interfaces for blind, partially sighted and motor impaired voters; voters for whom English is not their first language; remote (out of state and overseas) voters. It also enables malformed ballots to be detected and voters alerted, preventing accidentally spoiled ballots.
URL http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/emc/ifvea/emc.ifvea.discussionpaper.pdf
 
Description Applications of Distributed Ledger Technologies
Amount £614,484 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P031811/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2019
 
Description IAA (Impact Acceleration Account)
Amount £19,997 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2013 
End 03/2015
 
Description ICURe
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation SETsquared Partnership 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 09/2015
 
Description Luxembourg 
Organisation University of Luxembourg
Country Luxembourg 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaborative Research on Electronic Voting
Collaborator Contribution Collaborative Research on Electronic Voting, including contributions to papers and membership of the `Academic Advisory Group' for development of an evoting system
Impact Chris Culnane, James Heather, Rui Joaquim, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague: Faster Print on Demand for Prêt à Voter. EVT/WOTE 2014 Chris Culnane, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague: vVote: a Verifiable Voting System (DRAFT). CoRR abs/1404.6822 (2014) Morgan Llewellyn, Steve Schneider, Zhe Xia, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Sriramkrishnan Srinivasan: Testing Voters' Understanding of a Security Mechanism Used in Verifiable Voting. EVT/WOTE 2013 Craig Burton, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Thea Peacock, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Sriramkrishnan Srinivasan, Vanessa Teague, Roland Wen, Zhe Xia: A Supervised Verifiable Voting Protocol for the Victorian Electoral Commission. Electronic Voting 2012: 81-94 Craig Burton, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Thea Peacock, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague, Roland Wen, Zhe Xia, Sriramkrishnan Srinivasan: Using Prêt à Voter in Victoria State Elections. EVT/WOTE 2012 Denise Demirel, Maria Henning, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Melanie Volkamer: Feasibility Analysis of Prêt à Voter for German Federal Elections. VOTE-ID 2011: 158-173 Zhe Xia, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Hugo Jonker, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve A. Schneider, Sriramkrishnan Srinivasan: Versatile Prêt à Voter: Handling Multiple Election Methods with a Unified Interface. INDOCRYPT 2010: 98-114 Peter Y. A. Ryan, David Bismark, James Heather, Steve Schneider, Zhe Xia: Prêt à voter: a voter-verifiable voting system. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security 4(4): 662-673 (2009) David Bismark, James Heather, Roger M. A. Peel, Steve Schneider, Zhe Xia, Peter Y. A. Ryan: Experiences Gained from the first Prêt à Voter Implementation. REVOTE 2009: 19-28 Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve A. Schneider: Prêt à Voter with Re-encryption Mixes. ESORICS 2006: 313-326 David Chaum, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve A. Schneider: A Practical Voter-Verifiable Election Scheme. ESORICS 2005: 118-139
 
Description Melbourne 
Organisation University of Melbourne
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration on publications
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration on publications, membership of an `Academic Advisory Group' for the development of an verifiable evoting system, joint chair of the Vote-ID conference 2013.
Impact James Heather, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague: Cryptographic protocols with everyday objects. Formal Asp. Comput. 26(1): 37-62 (2014) Chris Culnane, James Heather, Rui Joaquim, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague: Faster Print on Demand for Prêt à Voter. EVT/WOTE 2014 Chris Culnane, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague: vVote: a Verifiable Voting System (DRAFT). CoRR abs/1404.6822 (2014) James Heather, Steve A. Schneider, Vanessa Teague (Eds.): E-Voting and Identify - 4th International Conference, Vote-ID 2013, Guildford, UK, July 17-19, 2013. Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 7985, Springer 2013, ISBN 978-3-642-39184-2 Craig Burton, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Thea Peacock, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Sriramkrishnan Srinivasan, Vanessa Teague, Roland Wen, Zhe Xia: A Supervised Verifiable Voting Protocol for the Victorian Electoral Commission. Electronic Voting 2012: 81-94 Craig Burton, Chris Culnane, James Heather, Thea Peacock, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Steve Schneider, Vanessa Teague, Roland Wen, Zhe Xia, Sriramkrishnan Srinivasan: Using Prêt à Voter in Victoria State Elections. EVT/WOTE 2012
Start Year 2011
 
Title SuVote 
Description Backend of a verifiable voting system, for use with a customised front end. The components include: random ballot form generation; bulletin board peers; web bulletin board; encoding and decoding of votes for processing through a mixnet; utilities. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The software was used in the Victorian State Election November 2014 to capture and process votes. 
URL https://bitbucket.org/tvsproject
 
Company Name Coasca Ltd 
Description Coasca Ltd provides software and expertise to support secure and verifiable electronic voting. It was set up out of the University of Surrey following the successful development of a system to support the November 2014 State Election in the State of Victoria, Australia. The University of Surrey has contributed the copyright of the open source software developed for the Victorian system, and owns a stake in the company. 
Year Established 2015 
Impact The company is currently in discussion with potential clients who are interested in electronic voting.
Website http://www.coasca.com/
 
Description Announcement on LinkedIn Group of successful delivery of world's first Verifiable Electronic Election at State level 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The announcement was to the LinkedIn group on Electronic Voting, which has 600 members around the world who are practitioners and in the Elections industry. The announcement led to a number of questions for further clarification, and also sparked a healthy debate about the pros and cons of electronic voting, the security risks, the societal benefits, and what our system had achieved.

I was approached privately by someone who had read the discussion and invited to apply our system to their particular challenge, that of providing electronic voting to overseas and military voters. This opportunity is currently being followed up.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=3010609&type=member&item=5947997104390553601&trk=groups...
 
Description CyberUK presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Technical Presentation on Distributed Ledger Technologies at CyberUK 2016
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://registration.livegroup.co.uk/cesg_cip16/
 
Description Invited keynote Address at 1st International Conference on Cyber Security for Sustainable Society 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Keynote address on the Victorian Election system to this conference. Led to discussions about verifiability more generally (not just in evoting but other societal systems). Has also led to interest in using our secure electronic system in a political election, and discussions are currently ongoing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://sustainablesocietynetwork.net/th_event/cyber-security-event-1/
 
Description Invited talk at Vote-ID 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact An invited talk at an international conference aimed at both a technical audience and policy makers. This also included a demonstration of the system.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.voteid15.org/
 
Description Panel on Electronic Voting at Financial Cryptography 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Participant in a panel discussion on the use of the internet for evoting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Presentation at the HMG Distroibuted Ledger Technoloigy Communit of Interest event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation about verifiable voting and about he VOLT project at the "Community of Interest on DLT's" event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Seminar at Royal Holloway University of London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar on the development of the Web Bulletin Board, presented at Royal Holloway, to approx 30 strong audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at University of Southampton 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Seminar at Southampton to talk about the formal development underpinning the web bulletin board used in electronic voting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar at University of Swansea 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Presentation describing our research outputs on a Secure Electronic Voting Systems and the formal verification of the Web Bulletin Board (DLT)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk on Secure Electronic Voting to the Guildford Institute 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talk sparked questions and comments about the concerns around electronic voting, and generated a lot of discussion after the talk.

Local people said they were impressed with the kind of activity that the University of Surrey was doing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/event/talk-electronic-voting/
 
Description Talk to GCHQ Blockchains workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was a workshop on blockchains organised bu GCHQ and with a mix of academic, business, and government participants. Steve Schneider gave a talk on distributed ledger technologies from the voting perspective
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Youtube 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 850 views of the youtube video explaining the core design idea of the Pret a Voter verifiable voting system

Enquiries and comments to me about the video, by email and in person, indicating a better understanding of the design.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSrpwc7qQvE