“Electronic Voting Using Cryptography”

by Dr. Kazue Sako, NEC Corporation, Japan


This is a non-technical survey of research on electronic voting systems using cryptographic protocols. For a more technically-oriented lecture, please see the technical version of this presentation scheduled for February 23, 2001.

The use of electronic voting systems is expected to lower the administrative costs associated with tallying votes and improve the accuracy of poll results. Another benefit is that a voter whose registration can be verified over a network does not have to go to a designated polling place and may even be able to vote from home. Confidentiality, however, is a potential problem. If the verification transaction is followed by the voting transaction, the voting center can easily learn who voted for what. But if these transactions are executed independently, the center has no way to exclude votes cast by unregistered voters. Cryptographic protocols can help solve this problem, and this talk presents three approaches to building secret voting systems that detect unauthorized voters and faulty voting centers. It compares the advantages and disadvantages of the three approaches and also discusses their applicability in practical voting systems.

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