beyond open-source: open-audit elections

From: Ben Adida <ben_at_eecs_dot_harvard_dot_edu>
Date: Sun Dec 10 2006 - 18:56:54 CST

Hi all,

Alan Dechter asked me to participate in this discussion, and I thought I
would begin by introducing myself. My name is Ben Adida, I'm a
postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. I received my PhD in computer science
from MIT, where I worked with Ronald Rivest on secure voting.

A topic of significant interest in recent years is open-audit voting,
which has typically been called "cryptographic voting," though that
latter term identified the means rather than the ends. I prefer the term
"open-audit voting." These protocols achieve true auditing by any
observer of the entire voting process, from casting to counting.

Proposals like VoteHere's MarkPledge, David Chaum's Punchscan, Peter
Ryan's Pret-a-Voter, Josh Benaloh's simple verifiable voting, and a few
others (including work I've done), achieve this level of auditing. Any
organization or individual can directly verify the election, much like
the auditing that was done in the early days of our democracy when all
votes were "show of hands." Except, of course, with the added benefit of
the secret ballot (which show-of-hands elections obviously don't have.)

For those who haven't seen these proposals, they're extremely powerful:
the level of public auditability is far greater than current systems,
with or without a paper trail. In addition, the elections run with
open-audit technology remain software-independent, as per the TGDC's
latest requirement: you don't need to trust any piece of software.

So why the lecture? Because I'm interested in finding out whether folks
working with the Open Voting Consortium are interested in exploring
open-audit solutions. What are people's thoughts?

(I'm happy to provide in-depth explanations if there's interest, I just
want to gauge interest first. For those who want to dig in immediately,
here's a pretty good overview:

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20061104/bob10.asp
)

-Ben Adida
ben@eecs.harvard.edu
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Received on Sun Dec 31 23:17:10 2006

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