Key Concepts and Protocols in E-Voting

Key Concepts and Protocols in E-Voting

Rui F.L. Joaquim (CCISEL, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-885-7.ch100
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With today’s technology, it is possible to improve the decision support of our networked and virtual organizations. More specific we are talking about e-voting systems, namely Internet voting systems, which are a convenient way to express actors’ will and/or opinion with all properties of traditional voting, such as: accuracy, democracy, privacy, and verifiability. To look at e-voting systems only as a modern way to conduct political or private organizations’ elections is diminutive of its potential. Whenever people’s privacy is at stake e-voting expertise can come in hand. Examples of such scenarios are quality surveys to improve service quality, for instance banks and other private or public service entities; health related surveys, for instance sexual behavior survey to help in the creation of a plan to fight sexual transmitted diseases, and teaching quality surveys to help adapt classes’ content to students’ needs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Voting Booth: A physical apparatus by which a voter can interactively communicate with a party, maintaining the communication perfectly secret to all other parties.

Zero-Knowledge Proofs: Probabilistic proofs that demonstrate, up to a desired level of certain, membership in the language without conveying any additional knowledge. In other words, zero-knowledge proofs are used to prove the knowledge of information without revealing anything about it.

Blind Signatures: A special class of digital signatures. The goal of blind signatures is to allow an entity A to obtain a signature of another entity B on a message m without revealing m to B. Making a parallel with the paper-based world, getting a blind signature is similar to setting a signature over a document below a sheet of carbon inside an envelope. If someone signs the outside of the envelope, then also signs the document inside the envelope. The signature remains attached to the document even after removed from the envelope. Blind signatures are used in e-voting as a method to validate votes.

Mix-Net: A set of mix-servers that work together to provide anonymity in communications. Each mix-server in the mix-net receives a set of messages and forwards them in a secret random order to the next mix-server. In e-voting mix-nets are usually used to provide anonymity in vote submit or decipher process.

Bulletin Board: The name given to a repository where everyone can read and write but not delete information.

Homomorphic Cryptosystem: A system where it is possible to establish a relation between a function of the cipher texts of two messages m1, m2 and the cipher text of another function of the clear messages. For e-voting the most interesting homomorphic property is the additive property: there is a function f that applied to the cipher texts of messages m1, m2 results in the cipher text of the sum of messages m1 and m2, f (C(m1) C(m2) = C(m1 + m2). Homomorphic cryptosystems, with the additive homomorphic property, can be use to decipher the final tally without decipher the votes, thus providing more guarantees of vote anonymity.

Untappable Channel: A physical apparatus by which an entity A can send a message to another entity B, maintaining the message perfectly secret to all other entities.

E-Voting: A voting process that uses some electronic device(s). The term e-voting is also usually used as a reference to Internet voting systems, a subclass of e-voting systems.

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