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Communications of the ACM

Letters to the Editor

Election Auditing and Verifiability

Letters to the Editor, illustration


Overall, the inside risks Viewpoint "The Risks of Self-Auditing Systems" by Rebecca T. Mercuri and Peter G. Neumann (June 2016) was excellent, and we applaud its call for auditing systems by independent entities to ensure correctness and trustworthiness. However, with respect to voting, it said, "Some research has been devoted to end-to-end cryptographic verification that would allow voters to demonstrate their choices were correctly recorded and accurately counted. However, this concept (as with Internet voting) enables possibilities of vote buying and selling." This statement is incorrect.

While Internet voting (like any remote-voting method) is indeed vulnerable to vote buying and selling, end-to-end verifiable voting is not. Poll-site-based end-to-end verifiable voting systems use cryptographic methods to ensure voters can verify their own votes are correctly recorded and tallied while (paradoxically) not enabling them to demonstrate how they voted to anyone else.


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