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Jimma University

Jimma Institute of Technology(JiT)


Department of Computing

Seminar Report on E-Voting


Submitted by: -
1. Arefat Abdulmelik Abdurahman - 00144/02
2. Abdu Mohammed Abrar - 00014/02

Submitted to: - Instructor Michael Shiferaw, MSc.


19/12/2012 Jimma, Ethiopia

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Table of Contents
1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 3
1.1. What is E-Voting ......................................................................................................................... 3
1.2. History of E-Voting ..................................................................................................................... 3
2. Types of E-Voting............................................................................................................................... 4
2.1. Punch card Voting system .......................................................................................................... 4
2.2. Direct Recording Electronic Voting System (DRE) ................................................................. 5
2.3. Telephone Voting ........................................................................................................................ 6
2.4. Online Voting .............................................................................................................................. 6
2.5. Optical Scanning (Mark sense) ................................................................................................... 7
3. Advantages& Disadvantages of e-voting ...................................................................................... 8
4. Basic Requirements for a good e voting system .............................................................................. 8
5. Security issues & Solution .................................................................................................................. 9
5.1. Why is security important? ........................................................................................................ 9
5.2. Hacker types of attacks............................................................................................................... 9
5.3. Erroneous Election Results, Presumably Accidental ............................................................. 10
5.4. Election Fraud/dishonesty/cheating ........................................................................................ 10
5.5. Countermeasures ...................................................................................................................... 10
6. Conclusion ......................................................................................................................................... 10
References ................................................................................................................................................... 11

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1. Introduction
Nowadays the use of technology and Internet has become very popular, day-to-day lots of people
are using it worldwide and it has become part of peoples life. In this paper, we are going to
focus on our constitutional right- the voting. Voting is very important for a society, thus for
years, mankind tries to make it better and more reliable. [3]
The application of ICT is introduced at several domains of fields. Its multidimensional benefits
are becoming more visible from time to times. The economic Benefit gained from the technology
is the most significant one. Furthermore, it helps to Increase the qualities of the work, reduces
the complexities of tasks, keeps the security of Data in most favorable condition, makes data
transfer more easy, and others.
There have been several studies on using computer technologies to improve elections. These
studies caution against the risks of moving too quickly to adopt electronic voting machines
because of the software engineering challenges, insider threats, network vulnerabilities, and the
challenges of auditing.
This Seminar has been developed in an attempt to provide an objective introduction to the issues
of E-Voting surrounding the introduction of information technologies into the voting process.
1.1. What is E-Voting
What is E-Voting?E-voting stands for electronic voting.Electronic voting is a type of vote which
is done through electronic systems. The Council of Europe defines e-voting as followed: An
election or referendum that involves the use of electronic means in at least the casting of the
vote.
Electronic voting has include on its technology optical scanning vote systems, punched cards and
voting kiosks which includes transmission of ballots and votes via Telephone, Internet or Private
computer networks. These voting kiosks include a self-contained direct recording electronic
voting system also known as DRE.
1.2. History of E-Voting
Electronic voting systems for electorates have been in use since the 1960s when punched
card systems debuted. Their first widespread use was in the USA where 7 counties switched to
this method for the 1964 presidential election. The newer optical scan voting systems allow a
computer to count a voter's mark on a ballot. DRE voting machines which collect and tabulate
votes in a single machine are used by all voters in all elections in Brazil and India, and also on a
large scale in Venezuela and the United States. They have been used on a large scale in
the Netherlands but have been decommissioned after public concerns. Internet voting systems
have gained popularity and have been used for government elections and referendums in
the United Kingdom, Estonia and Switzerland as well as municipal elections in Canada and party
primary elections in the United States and France.
There are also hybrid systems that include an electronic ballot marking device (usually a touch
screen system similar to a DRE) or other assistive technology to print a voter verified paper audit
trail, and then use a separate machine for electronic tabulation.[1]

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2. Types of E-Voting
There are different types of electronic voting systems which are being used globally atthe current
period. Due to the impact of the internet, voting has been made easier to thevoters. Some of the
types of electronic voting used at the present time are stated below.[2]

Punch Card Voting System


Direct Recording Electronic Voting System (DRE)
Telephone Voting
Online Voting : - Kiosk Internet Voting, Poll Site Internet Voting, Remote Internet
Voting
Optical Scanning

2.1. Punch card Voting system


A punch card is a storage medium made of thin cardboard stock that holds data as patterns of
punched holes. Each of the 80 or 96 columns holds one character. The holesare punched by a
keypunch machine or cards punch peripheral and are fed into thecomputer by a card reader.With
punch card voting, voters create holes in prepared ballotcards to indicate their choice of
candidate.

Figure 2.1.1 Punch card


In this voting type, paper is still present however it is called electronic because it is counted
electronically, how does it function? With the invent of electronic tabulation where the paper
card or sheets could be marked by hand but counted electronically, it made possible for the
voting paper to be counted electronically ,Which means much faster than a traditional way of
counting, one by one!.
Advantage&Disadvantage
An advantage of using this system is because there is a physical presence of vote, which in
some way ensure the voter that their choice will be counted, however it does not ensure that it
will counted correctly-the disadvantage of system.
For example, the Florida election case in year 2000 in U.S. madein famous these systems
because the holes In punch cards were not properly/fully punched (so called hanging
chad) thus they were unreadable (asshowninFigure2.1.2.).

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Figure2.1.2. Hanging Chads

2.2. Direct Recording Electronic Voting System (DRE)


The most recent configuration in the evolution of voting systems is known as direct
recording electronic, or DRE.These are machines or computers normally installed at a
polling station, which record and simultaneously store the vote.
They are used tocount votes that are cast internally on the machine. These machines
require the voter touse a keyboard, pointer or touch to mark their vote on a computer
terminal. The DREvoting machines take the form of an ATM shaped box; usually the
terminal consists of graphic images which guide the voter through the voting process.

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Advantage
DRE systems are often favored (preferred) because they can be embedded with assistive
technologies for handicapped people which would permit them to vote without the
involvement of other people. E.g. screen fonts can be designed larger for the poor
eyesight people or can play audio for the blind voters.
Sincevotesarerecordedinmemory,ittakelesstimetocountthem,theyareautomatically
done.
TheDRE system can also be configured to provide feedback on the validity of
a particular ballot so that the voter can have an opportunity to correct problems if they are
noticed.
Disadvantages
DREs (direct recording electronic voting machines) are costly.
There is no clear reason to trust a DRE vote count.
DREs fail to prove that the vote stored in the machine is really what the voter saw and
confirmed on the screen, etc.

Brazil is the best case to describe the advantages of this system. Since 2000, Brazilian
voters are able to vote using these machines. The electronic ballot box of Brazil is used as a
model for countries.

2.3. Telephone Voting


Provide voting either through a touch-tone system or through SMS text messages on mobile
phones. Authentication is achieved through the use of PIN and access codes, which are mailed to
voters ahead of the ballot.Telephone voting allows people to call different telephone numbers to
indicate preference for different options, or a voter might call the number and indicate a
preference by pressing buttons in a menu system.

Advantage& Disadvantage
Its main drawback is the difficulty in verifying the identity of the voter and in permitting only
one vote per person. Its chief advantage is the ease in getting people to participate.

2.4. Online Voting


Online voting is a form of voting in which the individuals are able to cast their votesonline,
through a web interface. Through the use of online voting, the voter navigates tothe designated
election site using a web browser on an ordinary PC. The individual thenauthenticates himself or
herself before the system enables the voter to view the ballotdisplayed on the screen. The voter is
then permitted to select their chosen candidate andthen cast the votes which would then be sent
to the election server for processing.Online Voting systems can be conducted through a number
of methods:

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Kiosk Internet Voting: This form of internet voting permits the voter to
vote fromcomputers in kiosks set up by the voting authority in convenient locations such
as post offices and shopping malls.
Poll Site Internet Voting: This form of internet voting permits voters to go to designated
polling sites to cast their votes for their chosen candidates through the use of computers.
The data contains the votes that are transmitted from each polling site to a central election
server via the internet. It provides the highest security compared to other electronic
forms because it happens physically, and the department can provide the reliable,
no virus, easy handled voting machines at places. Furthermore, the voters are
authenticated.
Remote Internet Voting: This form of voting enables the voters to cast votes
for specified candidates from any location through the use of a computer connected to the
internet. Remote voting is typically carried out at the voters home or work place. Remote
voting is a very convenient method of voting, since the voter has the choice to vote in an
election from any suitable location.

2.5. Optical Scanning (Mark sense)


Voting by optical scanning is started after IBM introduces the Type 805 Test Scoring Machine,
sensing graphite pencil marks on paper by their electrical conductivity in 1937.

In this system voters record their choices on a ballot card by filling in a circle, rectangle or oval or by
completing the arrow. They then either place the ballot in a sealed box, or they feed it into a
computer-tabulating device at the precinct. The tabulating device reads the votes using dark mark
logic, selecting the darkest mark within a given set as the correct vote. This technology has existed
for decades.

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)
defined four major types of these electronic means:[7]
Direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines: Vote is done at a voting machine as we
have seen.
Optimal mark recognition systems (OMR) (Similar to optical scan): Machine-readable ballot
papers are scanned either at a counting center or in the polling station.
Electronic ballot printers (EBPs): A machine prints the choice of the voter and then this paper
is inserted in the actual voting counting machine.
Internet voting systems: The voter is connected to an official central counting server and sends
his vote to the central counting station. [6]

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3. Advantages& Disadvantages of e-voting
Advantages
Increased efficiency
Mobility
Less costs
Speed
Flexibility
Increased Participation
Disadvantages
Stillthere are people that dont know how to use machines/mobiles/internet in
general, especially in leased developed countries.
Withtheuseofelectronicmachines,thepossibilityoffraudsbecomeshigher.

4. Basic Requirements for a good e voting system


Any electronic voting system should meet the below mentioned criterias in order to be reliable
as set by internet policy institute:
Authentication only eligible and authorized voter should be able to vote through that
particular system
Uniqueness- voters are allowed to vote only once
Accuracy-all votes should be correctly recorded and counted
Integrity-in no way, votes should not be modified,forged,or deleted without the
detection
Auditability- the votes should have audit trail,which means that it should be possible to
verify that all votes have been correctly counted and that for that to be proofed by a
reliable records
Secrecy and Non-Forcibility no one should know how an individual voted,nor no one
should be able to prove how they did vote in order to reduce the risk of coercion(vote-
selling)
Transparency the election process should be transparent to the voter,voters should be
able to have a general knowledge and understand the voting process/mechanism.it
increases the voting confidence of the public for the particular voting type.
Creditability-election systems should be testable and meets specific criterias so that the
election officials have confidence in them.
Simplicity and Flexibility-As mentioned in above parts as well, the program should be
design in a way to be simple and understandable for the users/voters. It should also
provide opportunities to vote for the people with disability. Furthermore, it should be
flexible and allow a variety of ballot questions format.

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5. Security issues & Solution
The next part of the seminar is the security of e-voting systems. Any election system will at least
have the following general requirements: data loss should be prevented; the privacy of voters
should be respected, to carry out regular checks, to protect authentication data, to respect one
person one vote, to provide all data necessary for auditing the system, so that observers always
can check the system.
Relating to security, on one hand systems have to be secure and protect the election from hackers
but on the other hand any system that supports e-voting should be distributed under an open
source license, which makes it easier for hackers to abuse the election process.

5.1. Why is security important?


In e-voting the information carried by the system is of a highly sensitive nature.
Once elections are conducted using e-voting, the prevention against any kind of attacks on the e-
voting system has the upmost importance with national security. Security requirements on an e-
voting system should ensure that the system is consistent with the law, will guarantee the just
and reliable process of elections as well as being resistant to all kinds of attacks which may
influence a final tally.

Core requirements are defined to satisfy law aspects of elections, which are:

Voters privacy during and after the election.


Eligibility to cast a vote.
Fairness which ensures that all candidates are given a fair decision.
Uniqueness of the vote.
Core requirements corresponds also to technical aspects of computer system, those requirements
are:
Accuracy of the results.
Robustness of the system which ensures that no one can disrupt or influencethe election
and also that the system works efficiently and is protected againstpassive and active types
of attacks.

5.2. Hacker types of attacks


Internet voting is, especially, more vulnerable to attacks than polling place voting: [8]
At the voting client: Worm-like viruses or Trojan horses may alter the vote before
any encryption or authentication is applied to the data. An attacker may (remotely)
exploit security holes at the operating system or at the web browser level [44].
At the communication level: During a spoofing attack, an attacker could feed a voter
with a seemingly legitimate web page. This may be enough to change the voter's vote.
Communication may also be threatened by other network-based attacks (e.g. TCP
SYN spoofing, IP fragmentation, etc.).
At the election server: Attacks at this level are similar to attacks at the voting client. Denial
of Service (DOS) attacks are also possible. The bottleneck problem is similar to a DOS
attack except that the jam is caused by an overwhelming number of legitimate contacts
occurring simultaneously.

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5.3. Erroneous Election Results, Presumably Accidental
Computer-related errors occur with alarming frequency in elections. In 1989, there were reports
of uncounted votes in Toronto and doubly counted votes in Virginia and in Durham, North
Carolina. Even the U.S. Congress had difficulties when 435 Representatives tallied 595 votes on
a Strategic Defense Initiative measure. An election in Yonkers, New York, was reversed because
of the presence of leftover test data that accumulated into the totals. Alabama and Georgia also
reported irregularities. After a series of mishaps, Toronto has abandoned computer-based
elections altogether. Most of these cases were attributed to "human error" rather than to
"computer error," and were presumably due to operators and not to programmers; however, in
the absence of dependable accountability, who can tell?

5.4. Election Fraud/dishonesty/cheating


If wrong results can occur accidentally, they can also happen intentionally. Rigging has been
suspected in various elections. In other cases, fraud might easily have taken place. Numerous
experts have attested to the ease with which close elections could be rigged. However, lawsuits
have been unsuccessful, particularly given the absence of trustworthy audit trails.

5.5. Countermeasures
Security in computer systems and networks requires enormous attention throughout the
requirements, design and implementation stages of development, and throughout potentially
every aspect of system operation and use. Because it is a weak-link phenomenon, considerable
effort must be invested in avoiding the vulnerabilities. Easy answers are almost never available
in the large, although occasionally an isolated problem may have a simple solution in the small.

Appropriate techniques for increasing security include the structuring approaches, especially
those that apply the principle of separation of concerns (duties, privileges, etc.). They also
include essentially all of the techniques of system and software engineering. But perhaps most
important is an awareness throughout of the types of vulnerabilities that must be avoided.

And also there are different types of cryptographic models and protocols currently used.

6. Conclusion
In this seminar work, we are presented detailed and understandable the subject of the voting in
general.we have been introduce type of e-voting advantages and disadvantages and focused in
the real cases as well.In most of the cases,the results are positive,however a further
improvements need to be done.Eventhough, some countries have different opinions/preference of
on which e-voting type to choose,still each one of them has their benefits.
Security - Many different methods have been designed to achieve security during the elections
conducted by the e-voting systems. Rapidly changing standards of safety and new kinds of
attack, finding a permanent standard solution for the security seems to be impossible. In this
situation,the only reasonable solution is to observe the changes in the security standards and
successful implementation and based on that continuously improve the offered solution.

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References

1. Electronic voting - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-voting


2. Types of electronic voting systems -
http://www.scribd.com/doc/21386702/21/Types-of-electronic-voting-systems
3. e-elections and e-voting - the case of Switzerland and France
diuf.unifr.ch/main/is/sites/diuf.../eGov-2011_Adrian_Dulaj.pdf
4. Building an e-voting system technical requirement AnalysisSecurity issues
5. Design and Implementation of an Electronic Voting System with Contactless IC Cards
http://security.nknu.edu.tw/publications/200805ICIM_eVoting.pdf- The Security Issues of
E-voting
6. E-Voting handbook - www.coe.int/.../E-voting/E-voting%202010/.../...
7. IIDEA: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance: Introducing Electronic
Voting. Essential Considerations, Bulls Graphics, Sweden, 2011.
8. Burmester, Mike; Magkos, Emmanouil: Towards secure and practical e-elections in the new era.
Department of Computer Science, Florida State University, available:
http://di.ionio.gr/~emagos/overview_voting_2002.pdf, accessed 30 November 2011.

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