Malware On Voter's Device
SIV acknowledges that malware will always be a concern, and it focuses on providing mechanisms to identify and rectify such corruptions.
Contrasting traditional paper elections, SIV empowers voters to personally verify their vote, even without the need for a computer, ensuring accurate tabulation.
This fosters a heightened sense of credibility among the electorate, as the outcome is no longer reliant on the opaque integrity of a concealed tallying process. The voter can now personally ascertain that their voice has been accurately represented.
In comparing Secure Internet Voting with paper elections, it is essential to acknowledge that paper-based systems are not entirely impervious to malware attacks, and require their own verification measures. For instance, the computer designated for disseminating election results may be susceptible to malware infiltration. The issue is not about completely eliminating the problem in paper or digital elections, instead it prompts the questions "Can we effectively detect such corruption, and how difficult is the detection process?" SIV's strength lies in making the verification process accessible and effortless for all voters, not solely for election administrators endowed with privileged access.
SIV strategically establishes multiple checkpoints to effectively identify and mitigate potential attacks. In chronological order, these include:
1. Opt-In Advantage
Secure Internet Voting (SIV) is designed as a supplementary voting alternative.
Voters need to have the autonomy to choose their preferred voting method, whether embracing the advancements of SIV or maintaining the traditional paper voting approach. By providing this opt-in feature, individuals who may be hesitant to undertake the responsibility of verifying their own vote can continue participating in the democratic process via paper voting, thus local governments can better cater to the diverse preferences and technological expertise of the electorate.
2. Multiple-Device Verification
Voters can seamlessly use a secondary device to confirm that their vote has been submitted accurately. Utilizing devices with distinct malware profiles, such as different operating systems, bolsters the system's defenses against potential threats.
The verification process is swift and user-friendly, taking mere seconds to complete — akin to scanning a QR code. Voters can leverage as many additional devices as they desire, without necessitating specialized knowledge or expertise.
For an in-depth exploration of this approach, continue reading Using Multiple Devices to Detect Malware.
3. Personal Vote Verification
SIV gives voters the ability personally verify that their vote is accurately recorded and included in the final tally. This is achieved through the use of a unique, randomly generated Verification Numbers.
While the majority of checks within the SIV system necessitate computational resources, this particular verification process offers the flexibility of being executed without a device, providing an additional layer of convenience and accessibility.
To delve deeper into the topic of Verification Numbers and their role in ensuring vote accuracy, refer to the section Personal Vote Counted Correctly.
4. Risk Limiting Audits
Enabling voters to personally verify their vote in the final tally, also facilitates the implementation of efficient Risk Limiting Audits (RLAs).
Employing a relatively small sample size, official representatives can engage with a random selection of voters and guide them through the process of confirming their vote's integrity, all without compromising the individual's privacy.
The mathematics behind RLAs scale remarkably well, even in closely contested elections. For instance, in the 2020 Georgia Presidential Race, Joe Biden secured 49.47% of the votes, while Donald Trump garnered 49.24%. In such a scenario, compromising a mere 0.12% of votes could reverse the outcome. However, by examining a random sample of only 5,000 votes out of the total 4,999,958 cast (roughly 1 in 1000), one can achieve 99.7% statistical confidence in the final result's accuracy. Further, increasing the sample size to 10,000 votes (1 out of 500) elevates the confidence level to an impressive 99.9992%.
For an in-depth analysis of SIV Risk Limiting Audits, including real-world examples, refer to the section Risk Limiting Audits.
5. Remediation Abilities
It is valuable to emphasize that the initial publication of results should be deemed preliminary, allowing for an adequate challenge period during which voters can perform all necessary checks and report any discrepancies if they suspect their vote has been compromised.
Even at this advanced stage, SIV's capabilities enable the revocation of compromised votes and the recalculation of tallies while preserving a comprehensive audit trail and maintaining voter privacy. This approach, wherein checks are conducted by voters themselves, has the potential to significantly enhance trust and transparency in the election process.
For a detailed examination of SIV's remediation capabilities, please refer to Remediating Compromised Votes.