End-to-end verifiable online voting to be trialled in New Town, India
From this Saturday (1 Oct to 5 Oct 2022), local residents of New Town, Kolkata, India will be able to use their mobile phones to vote for their favourite puja (a festival decoration for worshipping) as part of the annual Durga Puja festival celebration. New Town is a modern satellite city of Kolkata with about one million population. Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals in India, especially in Kolkata.
The online voting system implements a cryptographic protocol called DRE-ip, which was proposed by Dr Siamak Shahandashti and Professor Feng Hao in 2016 in an ERC-funded project. This protocol ensures that the e-voting system is end-to-end verifiable, hence giving every voter a chance to verify the tallying integrity of an election. The DRE-ip protocol was previously used in a Gateshead e-voting trial for polling station voting in 2019. This time it will be trialled for online voting, supported by a Royal Society international collaboration grant in collaboration with Professor Bimal Roy of the Indian Statistical Institute and the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), West Bengel, India.
The online voting system has been developed by a group of 2021/2022 Master of Engineering (MEng) students (Horia Druliac, Matthew Bardsley, Chris Riches and Chris Dunn) in the Computer Science department as part of their MEng group project. The same group of students won the 2022 Innovation award.