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How to Vote Better

The Witness-Voting System, by Ed Gerck, invited opening chapter in "Towards Trustworthy Elections, New Directions in Electronic Voting", published by Springer Verlag. Chaum, David, et. al. (Ed.), (c) 2010, pages 1-36. ISBN-10: 1-4020-7301-1.

Voting is a challenging problem, a problem that even school children can understand but that is made harder to solve than conventional cyber-security and ecommerce by requirements for public verifiability and ballot secrecy.

We present a comprehensive theory of voting, viewed for the first time as a non-classical communication process, even though the results are expected to be deterministic. We consider both passive and active attacks and, for additional fairness assurances, further requirements including that the system must work as desired without insight or ingenuity (i.e., without relying on human input) while it must be fully auditable by a diversity of machines and humans.

Among the many novel and strong results gained from our approach, we show how any type of voting can be as secure as desired while assuring that ballots and voters are unlinkable. The secret ballot is, therefore, not the reason for the failures that we observe in all actual voting systems, so far.

In fact, when ballots and voters are unlinkable, voters can be both strongly anonymous ballot-wise and strongly identified as eligible voters.

Further, in implementation terms, we show that paper-based voting faces unfavorable scaling with increasing number of voters, while paperless electronic voting and networked voting (networked machines, not necessarily using the Internet) are easier to secure in large scale. The latter being easier to secure than voting with isolated machines.

And, contrary to ecommerce technology and what is currently feared with Internet voting, voters do not need to give up the right to vote anonymously in order to prevent voter fraud.

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Our experience since 1999 includes voter & candidate registration, campaigning, online and postal mail ballot creation & delivery, voting, nomination, elections, by-law amendments, Board meetings, scientific surveys, petitions, signing forms, signing power of attorney, printable (PDF) cast-ballot image, running tally, result analysis, and auditing. As the Election Manager, you define how you want Safevote's service to run.
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The Safevote technology makes your entire election process a self verified "closed circle", with additional, human-based, full audit.

Safevote's technology assures election integrity, privacy and security. Safevote identifies, qualifies, and authenticates the voter, and secures the ballot, but voting is anonymous — ballots and voters cannot be linked to each other. We are not just a hosted-application provider, we do not start your election in minutes and we do not finish it in seconds. We provide audited online election services that you and your voters can trust and verify.

"The ZSentry ballot process worked very well for our last election." Norman Veen, PMP, Past President. Project Management Institute, Central Iowa Chapter, IA

"Safevote's technology allows the University to use our own pages and trusted login procedure to authenticate the voters, including data from our enterprise directory. The voter goes on to vote using Safevote, while keeping all the privacy and security assurances, and audit, of the Safevote process." Asa Rudehall, Head of Vice Chancellor's Office, Umea Universitet, Sweden

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