Talk by Rolf Haenni (LTCS)

Short Title: 
Talk by Rolf Haenni
Event Date(s): 
Thursday, 19. April 2018 - 10:15 to 11:30

Room A097, ExWi, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern

Prof. Dr. Rolf Haenni (Bern University of Applied Sciences)

One Person, One Computer, One Vote – Theoretical and Practical Challenges of Designing Online Voting Systems

In most democracies in the world, according to the “one person, one vote” principle, citizens have equal voting rights in elections. This implies that all votes from eligible voters are tallied (at most one vote per voter), and that all votes from ineligible voters are discarded. In classical paper-based voting systems, this property is achieved to a satisfiable degree by various procedural measures. In an online voting system, guaranteeing a correct election outcome is much harder. The generally accepted approach today is to design systems, which allow independent third parties to verify the correctness of the election result.

From a cryptographic point of view, designing verifiable voting systems is very challenging. The main problem results from the intrinsic conflict between the requirement of unanimously identifying eligible voters while protecting their vote secrecy. Various cryptographic protocols exists to solve this problem, but most of them only provide a protection against rather weak types of adversaries. Stronger adversaries may try to corrupt the voter’s machines by malware, to buy votes from voters, or even to coerce voters to vote in a specific way.

This talk will give an overview of the most challenging technical problems related to online voting. Some existing cryptographic voting protocols will be discussed. Particular attention will be given to the protocol proposal for the next-generation Internet voting system of the State of Geneva.