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Credibility of Election Software
Clive Boughton, Dr, Department of Computer Science

Track: Security
Date: Friday, July 30
Time: 10:45am - 11:30am
Location: Eugene


Having electronic voting software "open source" is frequently proffered as the solution to ensuring voters that electronic voting is reliable and yields a credible election outcome. In 2000 when the Electoral Commission for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) released a tender for the provision of an electronic voting and counting system, the concerns regarding electronic voting in the US Presidential Election of 2000 had not yet emerged into the public arena. A tender response proposing "open source" while appealing was not sufficient of itself to win the tender.

eVACS, the electronic voting and counting system, developed by Software Improvements and provided to the ACT Electoral Commission under the Gnu GPL in 2001, provided more. Transparency of the code is an important eVACS feature with the media, the politicians, and the public, but equally important are the in-built security features and the associated security procedures adopted by the Electoral Commission to ensure credibility in an election outcome. If the keys to the public gaining confidence to vote electronically are security and transparency, then "open source" per se is not sufficient, but there are alternatives.

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