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Verifying Security of Electronic Voting Systems

Seminar Abstract from Mark Ryan:

Electronic voting has the potential to provide more efficient elections with higher voter participation, better accuracy, lower costs, and greater security, compared to current manual methods. Governments the world over have been trialling and deploying electronic voting systems. Unfortunately, however, this potential has proved very difficult to realise. Currently deployed systems are based on poorly conceived principles, and are fraught with security problems. Researchers have proposed much better systems that aim to offer stronger security properties than are possible for manual methods.

In my talk, I review the current situation in actual deployment and in research. I describe some of the challenges in defining and verifying several kinds of security property, in particular properties related to ballot secrecy and coercion resistance. We model these properties as observational equivalences in the applied pi calculus, which is a calculus derived from the pi calculus and targeted at cryptographic protocols. We illustrate our definitions on three electronic voting protocols from the literature.


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