Risks - Software Reliability

Internet Voting

Study Guide

1. Defining Internet voting:

Internet voting is typically a subset of electronic voting where the voter uses the Internet to process some phase of submitting a ballot. Electronic voting encompasses all means of determining the people's collective intent electronically.      

2. Applications of Internet voting:

There are generally three structures that involve internet voting,
Automating traditional systems: This involves using web voting as a refinement of the current absentee systems, using email as a distribution method
Web site voting: Voters log in to a secured web site which establishes identity, accepts, and tallies votes from registered voters.
Voting centers: Using electronic systems, traditional poll-sites would be computerized to accept and transmit voting data to central system.

3. Types of Internet Voting:
           Poll Site:
  Internet technology added to traditional voting locations.

           Kiosk Voting: Internet would be placed at non-traditional sites such as a
           mall or public location for convenience of voters.
           Remote Voting: Citizens would be able to vote from anywhere using
           the Internet.            

4. Security concerns of Internet voting:

Serious security concerns exist that currently prevent Internet voting from becoming a viable alternative to traditional voting systems.
  • Ensuring voter integrity (coercion, vote buying)
  • Preserving voter privacy
  • Establishing voter identity
  • Securing entire data path, including links to central database
  • Preventing large scale attacks (denial of service, spoofing)
  • Preventing PC-based attacks (viruses, malware) from interfering


5. Future of internet voting:

In early 2004, the Department of Defense discontinued their SERVE electronic voting program due to irreconcilable concerns about the ability to deploy a secure voting system. Unfortunately, many of these concerns are inherent in the structure of the Internet and cannot be remedied by changes in the voting program. Future Internet voting initiatives are likely to be more focused around automating and decentralizing voting centers.


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