Cryptography and Information Security Group Research Project: Electronic Voting

The Cryptography and Information Security research group of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science has a long-standing interest in electronic voting and the security of voting technology.

Professor Ronald L. Rivest has led this project. Other key participants have been Mark Herschberg, Kazho Ohta, Ben Adida, Brandon DuRette, Rachel Greenstadt, and Kevin McDonald.

Our sponsors have included: DARPA (DARPA contract DABT63-96-C-0018, "Security for Distributed Computer Systems") and NTT. (Thanks!)

The EVOX Voting System

One part of our research has been the implementation of the EVOX voting scheme, and testing its use in MIT campus-wide student elections. The scheme is based on the paper, "A practical secret voting scheme for large scale elections", by Atsushi Fujioka, Tatsuaki Okamoto, and Kazuo Ohta (Proceedings AUSCRYPT '92, 1993), pages 244-251.

The original implementation was done by Mark Herschberg as part of his Master's thesis. The protocol details are listed here.

EVOX has recently reached what we're calling version 2.0beta. EVOX has a new interface, built entirely in HTML, that links to the EVOX Java applet via a few simple Javascript procedures, using Netscape LiveConnect. A generalized Object Store interface is now being used for the Anonymizer, so that the system can easily be switched over to a database-backed system using JDBC-to-Oracle. (March 13th, 1999)

The EVOX system ran the UA Elections, from March 10th to March 14th, 1999.

On May 25th, 1999 a second branch of the EVOX system has been created which uses multiple administrators for vote signing. This should improve the security by preventing the administrator from forging votes. This work was done as a part of a Bachelors thesis by Brandon DuRette.

In no specific order, we plan to do the following over the next few weeks and months: (1) Use JDBC to store votes in a database. (2) Add ability to have multiple counters (3) Explore other protocols (modularize out the protocol?) (4) Post full documentation of protocol, changes made to it for practical reasons, and Java implementation

For any information on using EVOX, how EVOX works, or on electronic voting in general, please don't hesitate to contact Ben Adida.

Bibliography on electronic voting

Rachel Greenstadt has prepared a short bibliography of research on electronic voting. (January, 2000)

Other interesting links on electronic voting and voting technology:

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