Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Online voting and computer security expertise

There are people trained in computer science, computer security and/or voting technology who can bring evidence and experience to any analysis of online voting.  Canadians first but otherwise no particular order.

Barbara Simons

Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley

Barbara Simons is a computer scientist and past president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). She is founder and former Chair of USACM, the ACM U.S. Public Policy Committee. Her main areas of research are compiler optimization and scheduling theory. Together with Douglas W. Jones, Simons co-authored a book on electronic voting entitled Broken Ballots.

Key documents:
Key videos:
Email: simons@acm.org

Twitter: not an active personal Twitter user, however there are tweets from book account @BrokenBallots

Konstantin Beznosov

Ph.D. in Computer Science from Florida International University

Dr. Beznosov served on the BC Independent Panel on Internet Voting

Konstantin (Kosta) Beznosov is an Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, where he founded and directs the Laboratory for Education and Research in Secure Systems Engineering (LERSSE).  His primary research interests are distributed systems security, usable  security, secure software engineering, and access control.

Key documents: British Columbia Independent Panel on Internet Voting - Recommendations Report (PDF)

Twitter: not an active Twitter user

Valerie King

Ph.D. in Computer Science and a J.D., both from the University of California at Berkeley

Dr. King served on the BC Independent Panel on Internet Voting

Valerie King is Professor of Computer Science at the University of Victoria and has been a faculty member there since 1992.  She received an A.B. degree in Mathematics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and a J.D., both from the University of California at Berkeley.  She was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Princeton University, a Research Scientist at NECI, Compaq SRC and HP Labs, a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research SVC, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen and Hebrew University.

Key documents: British Columbia Independent Panel on Internet Voting - Recommendations Report (PDF)


J. Alex Halderman

Ph.D. in Computer Science, Princeton University

Dr. Halderman has extensive expertise in examining Internet voting systems, including Estonia's system

J. Alex Halderman is an assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, where his research spans applied computer security and tech-centric public policy. Halderman has studied topics ranging from web security, data privacy, digital-rights management, and cybercrime to technological aspects of intellectual-property law and government regulation. He is known for helping to introduce the ”cold-boot attack,” which breaks encryption by literally freezing a computer's memory, and for exposing Sony’s rootkit digital-rights management and other harmful copy-protection technologies. A noted expert on electronic voting security, Halderman demonstrated the first voting-machine virus and helped lead California’s ”top-to-bottom” electronic-voting review. He has uncovered vulnerabilities in numerous deployed voting systems. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University.

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Twitter: not an active Twitter user

David Dill

Ph.D. in Computer Science, Carnegie-Mellon University

David Dill is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.  He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2001 for his contributions to verification of circuits and systems, and a Fellow of the ACM in 2005 for contributions to system verification and for leadership in the development of verifiable voting systems. In 2008, he received the first "Computer-Aided Verification" award, with Rajeev Alur, for fundamental contributions to the theory of real-time systems verification. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He has been on the faculty at Stanford since 1987. He has an S.B. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1979), and an M.S and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University (1982 and 1987).

Prof. Dill has been working actively on policy issues in voting technology since 2003. He is the author of the "Resolution on Electronic Voting", which calls for a voter-verifiable audit trail on all voting equipment, and which has been endorsed by thousands of people, including many of the top computer scientists in the U.S. He has testified on electronic voting before the U.S. Senate and the Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker III. He is the founder of the Verified Voting Foundation and VerifiedVoting.org and is on the board of those organizations. In 2004, he received the Electronic Frontier Foundation's "Pioneer Award" for "for spearheading and nurturing the popular movement for integrity and transparency in modern elections."

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Avi Rubin

Ph.D., Computer Science and Engineering, University of Michigan

Avi Rubin is Professor of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University and Technical Director of the JHU Information Security Institute. His primary research area is Computer Security, and his latest research focuses on security for healthcare IT systems. He is Director of the Health and Medical Security (HMS) Lab at Johns Hopkins. He also founded Harbor Labs, a company that provides security consulting, professional training, and technical expertise and testimony in high tech litigation.

He is a frequent speaker on Information Security. Some highlights include TED talks in October, 2011 and September, 2015 about hacking devices, a TED Youth talk, testimony in Congressional hearings, and a high level security briefing at the Pentagon to the Assistant Secretary of the Army and a group of generals.  Authored a book on electronic voting entitled Brave New Ballot: The Battle to Safeguard Democracy in the Age of Electronic Voting.

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Twitter: @avirubin

David Jefferson

Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie-Mellon University

David Jefferson is computer scientist in the Center for Applied Scientific Computing, where he works on parallel entity-based simulation. He is interested in scalable parallel "middleware" supporting high-performance computing applications, including scalable operating system and communication software, discrete simulation engines, Java platforms, load balancing, checkpointing, performance instrumentation.

David has served (and continues to serve) on a number of government panels at the state and federal levels, advising on election security issues, especially with regard to electronic and Internet voting. He also sits on the board of directors of the California Voter Foundation.

Key quotes:
Twitter: not an active Twitter user

Ron Rivest

Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University

Ron Rivest is a cryptographer and an Institute Professor at MIT. He is a member of MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He was a member of the Election Assistance Commission's Technical Guidelines Development Committee, tasked with assisting the EAC in drafting the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines.

Rivest is one of the inventors of the RSA algorithm (along with Adi Shamir and Len Adleman). He is the inventor of the symmetric key encryption algorithms RC2, RC4, RC5, and co-inventor of RC6. The "RC" stands for "Rivest Cipher", or alternatively, "Ron's Code".

Rivest is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the International Association for Cryptologic Research, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Together with Adi Shamir and Len Adleman, he has been awarded the 2000 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award and the Secure Computing Lifetime Achievement Award. He also shared with them the Turing Award.

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Twitter: not active on Twitter

Andrew Appel

PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University

Andrew W. Appel is Eugene Higgins Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. He served as Department Chair from 2009-2015. His research is in software verification, computer security, programming languages and compilers, and technology policy. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in physics from Princeton in 1981, and his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985. He has been Editor in Chief of ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems and is a Fellow of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). He has worked on fast N-body algorithms (1980s), Standard ML of New Jersey (1990s), Foundational Proof-Carrying Code (2000s), and the Verified Software Toolchain (2010s).

Key documents: Key videos: Websites:

Bruce Schneier

Master's in Computer Science from American University in Washington, DC

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, called a "security guru" by The Economist. He is the author of 13 books--including Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World--as well as hundreds of articles, essays, and academic papers. His influential newsletter "Crypto-Gram" and his blog "Schneier on Security" are read by over 250,000 people. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, has served on several government committees, and is regularly quoted in the press. Schneier is a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Advisory Board Member of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and the Chief Technology Officer at Resilient, an IBM Company.

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Twitter: the automatic (non-interactive) account @schneierblog tweets links to new blog entries on his website

Vanessa Teague

Ph.D. in computer science (cryptography and game theory) from Stanford University

Her main research interest is in electronic voting, with a focus on cryptographic schemes for end-to-end verifiable elections and a special interest in complex voting schemes such as STV. She was a major contributor to the Victorian Electoral Commission's end-to-end verifiable electronic voting project, the first of its kind to run at a state level anywhere in the world, joint work with Chris Culnane, Peter Ryan and Steve Schneider. She discovered, with Alex Halderman, serious security vulnerabilities in the NSW iVote Internet voting system.

She has been invited to appear before several Australian parliamentary inquiries into elections at the state and federal level, to answer questions on electronic voting.

She is on the advisory board of Verifiedvoting.org and has been co-chair of the USENIX Electronic Voting Technologies Workshop and the International conference on E-voting and identity.

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Joe Kiniry

Ph.D. in Computer Science from the California Institute of Technology

Dr. Kiniry is the CEO and Chief Scientist of Free & Fair, a Galois spin-out focusing on high-assurance elections technologies and services.  He is also the Research Lead at Galois of several programs: Rigorous Software Engineering, Verifiable Elections, High-assurance Cryptography, and Audits-for-Good.

Prior to joining Galois in 2014, Dr. Kiniry was a Full Professor at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). There, he was the Head of DTU’s Software Engineering section. Dr. Kiniry also held a guest appointment at the IT University of Copenhagen. Over the past decade, he has held permanent positions at four universities in Denmark, Ireland, and The Netherlands.

Dr. Kiniry has around fifteen years experience in the design, development, support, and auditing of supervised and internet/remote electronic voting systems while he was a professor at various universities in Europe. He co-led the DemTech research group at the IT University of Copenhagen and has served as an adviser to the Dutch, Irish, and Danish governments in matters relating to electronic voting.  He now advises the U.S. government on these matters via his participation in the EAC-NIST VVSG public working groups.

Key quotes:
Twitter: @kiniry

Jeremy Epstein

Master's in Computer Sciences from Purdue University

Jeremy Epstein joined DARPA as a program manager in February 2016. His technical research interests span cybersecurity, with particular interest in systems security. He was previously the lead for the National Science Foundation's cybersecurity research program.

Jeremy Epstein is a senior computer scientist with SRI International in Arlington, Virginia. At SRI, he has been principal investigator on the NSF-funded ACCURATE research program (www.accurate-voting.org) and supported the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology cybersecurity research program. He is also a member of the US Election Assistance Commission's Voting Security Risk Assessment (VSRA) team. Prior to joining SRI, Jeremy spent almost nine years as head of product security for Software AG, a global business software company.

Key quotes: Key documents: Websites:

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Monday, August 22, 2016

City of Kitchener 2012 Report on Internet Voting

The City of Kitchener did a report in 2012, titled FCS-12-191 Alternative Voting - Internet Voting (link will open a page viewer).

Because the City of Kitchener website provides a page viewer and a button to generate a PDF download, I've made a copy of the PDF, you can view and download it from Google Drive (click the down-pointing arrow in the upper right of that screen to download).

The report is particularly good is in the area of turnout.  It concludes
there is no clear indication that [internet voting] increases voter turnout. There is data that shows internet voting does not increase voter turnout amongst younger voters. 
The conclusion is supported by tables in the Results and Outcomes section showing data from Markham, Peterborough, and Burlington, with a particularly detailed breakdown for Markham.  See the image extracted from the document below:

Let me re-emphasize the last sentence in the above extract:

There is clear evidence that, regardless of geography internet voting does not attract younger voters.

I believe it is the Markham evidence that underlies the Canadian Internet Voting Project's (@ivotingproject) October 31, 2015 tweet stating "Young ontario voters (aged 18-24) more likely to use paper ballots than internet voting"
The Kitchener report however unfortunately comes to an incorrect conclusion about security "Security issues are a real threat but most studies conclude that the risk is small to medium." The reality is most studies conclude the risk is large.

The staff report's Executive Summary recommended against adopting Internet voting and indeed Kitchener rejected Internet voting for 2014.

Executive Summary (extract)

Staff is of the opinion that [internet voting] should not be introduced in 2014 based on several factors outlined in greater detail in this report such as:
June 23, 2016  City of Mississauga report on Internet Voting

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Get Informed about Online Voting Before You Answer the #ERRE Survey

The background information provided by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform is wildly inadequate in the context of online voting.  It provides only four short paragraphs.  There is no direct citation of computer scientists or computer security experts in the background paper.  I had considered this a problem, but not an insurmountable one, but now that background paper is the only information provided to inform citizens completing the committee's online survey.

The background paper does not draw upon sufficient evidence, and its "on the one hand, on the other hand" conclusion is weak.  See my previous blog post Online voting section of Background Paper 2016-06-E on Electoral Systems.

Before you complete the online voting section of the Electoral Reform survey, I encourage you to review the evidence provided below.

Make It Short

The Canadian government has already been cyberattacked by nation-states, computer security experts warn that online voting is not secure, national security experts warn that online voting is not secure, and online voting won't increase turnout.

Here's the evidence: As further quick background I recommend:

I Want To Know More

Beyond that, there are 12 years worth of material in this blog itself


and 6 years worth of material in my Twitter


I'm happy to respond to specific requests for particular evidence related to Internet voting. 

Take the Survey

Now that you've had a chance to get a proper briefing with relevant evidence, I encourage you to complete the online survey (deadline unknown; presumably before October 7, 2016) or use any of the other methods to contribute to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform.

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Canadian government departments have been hacked before

Intrusions into computer systems by sophisticated attackers ("hacks") have already happened multiple times for multiple Canadian government departments.  This means the risk of attack to online voting is far from theoretical.

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Secret Ballot privacy report in the news

Verified Voting, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and Common Cause have released a report: The Secret Ballot at Risk


It describes how US voters often have to waive (sign away) their right to a secret ballot in order to vote online.

It's being widely reported in the media, including:

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Internet voting video of the week - J. Alex Halderman for Slashdot 2012

The video can't be embedded, but you can watch it at


Find out more about J. Alex Halderman at https://jhalderm.com/

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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Australia concludes electronic voting would catastrophically compromise election integrity

In my understanding, Australia does a review of election processes and possible improvements after every election.

Canada should be so lucky as to have a process as comprehensive as Australia's last review in 2013, where "The Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters held 20 hearings and reviewed more than 200 submissions, before deciding Australia should stick to its largely paper based system."[1]

The foreward of this Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) report is worth quoting extensively, as it is clear and compelling.  Any emphasis (bolding) below is mine.
advocates argue that [electronic voting computers and Internet voting] offer faster and potentially more accurate results. With the close of polls the results are known within minutes rather than hours, days and weeks and arguably without the human error that occurs in the long paper ballot count.
Many think it sounds like a good idea for the next federal election.
No matter your view, this is not feasible.
Even the most ardent electronic voting advocates must recognise that in logistical terms it would be impossible for our electoral authorities to roll it out next polling day which is less than two years away – at the latest.
But what about future elections?
I once simply assumed so, but that was before I had really given it a lot of thought.
After hearing from a range of experts, and surveying the international electoral landscapes it is clear to me that Australia is not in a position to introduce any large-scale system of electronic voting in the near future without catastrophically compromising our electoral integrity.
Machine electronic voting at a polling place is vulnerable to hacking to some degree. This can be mitigated by a system that not only records your vote electronically, but also produces a printed ballot for physical counting and later verification. In other words, a lot of expense to still visit the polling booth, queue up and complete your vote on a machine rather than a paper ballot.
For this reason, internet voting seems to be naturally the most attractive to many voters. As an election expert from the USA recently said to me: ‘when it comes to voting, folks would rather be online than in line.’
But the weight of evidence tells us that at present [Internet voting] is highly vulnerable to hacking. While internet voting occurs in Estonia, it does not mean that system cannot be hacked.
With all the internet security architecture available, the academic experts swear they can, and have proved they can, hack such systems.
Given we complete so many transactions online, I am often asked why voting should be any different. My answer to that is that voting once every three years to determine our democratic destiny is not an everyday transaction.
Not only do we have the right to a ballot; we have rightly enshrined within our system the right to a secret vote. Voting at a booth in a polling place guarantees this; voting over the internet threatens this.
Internet voting would expose some voters to family and peer pressure by removing the individual isolation of voting at a secluded booth and replacing it with voting in a home, a workplace or a public place. It also potentially opens up a market for votes where disengaged or financially desperate voters could be offered money to vote a certain way, which could be verified in a way not possible at a polling place.
Over the course of the twenty hearings to date and in reviewing the 207 submissions received, the Committee has worked collaboratively and in an impartial manner to ensure that the best outcomes have been met.
Technology is moving at a rapid pace. The Committee believes that we should be utilising it to ensure that the systems underpinning how we vote are sound and that persons with disabilities have easy access to the vote. In doing so, we will harness [technology] which enhances our electoral integrity, not that which endangers it.
Hon Tony Smith
MP Chair
I extend my thanks once again to the Honourable Tony Smith for such a clear and compelling summary of the evidence.

[1] ABC - Curious Campaign: Why have voters not had access to electronic voting? - 26 May 2016

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Your post advocates a

( ) technical ( ) legislative ( ) vigilante

approach to improving voting. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't
work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea.)

( ) It will not increase turnout.  Only public interest increases turnout.  Yes, even for the kids today.
( ) It will not save money
( ) It will not be secure
( ) The ballot will not be secret
( ) Any increase in vote counting speed is irrelevant when weighed against the greatly increased risks of hacking
( ) By enabling the voter to verify their vote after it has been cast, you have opened the door to coercion
( ) By issuing user, password, personal info credentials you have made the voter's identity something that can be sold or stolen
( ) Every eligible voter cannot meaningfully understand and inspect it
( ) The requirement to have a printed ballot for verification means you have invented a very expensive pencil

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) The fact that computers can lie; computers will do whatever they're programmed to do
( ) Nation-state attackers
( ) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Coding errors
( ) Malware
( ) Banking has completely different security requirements from voting; when hacked the transaction is reversed at the bank's expense
( ) The online system you think is analogous is not
( ) The need to cast an anonymous vote on a smartphone, the least anonymous device ever invented
( ) The need to cast a secure vote on a system that has components built or coded by other nation-states
( ) The corporation you have outsourced your voting system to is malicious and/or incompetent
( ) The fact the voting machines (computers) will not be patched as new vulnerabilities are discovered
( ) Tendency of users to click on anything received by email
( ) Lack of technical expertise in individuals overseeing and running the election
( ) Power failure
( ) Denial of service
( ) USB keys
( ) Wifi / Bluetooth
( ) Inevitable technology obsolescence
( ) Encrypting the communication over the network doesn't matter when the client and server aren't secure
( ) Blockchain doesn't work the way you think it does, and even if it did, it wouldn't solve the problem you think it does

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Voting for your democratic representatives should require more thought and effort than ordering a pizza
Copyright © 2016 Richard Akerman
Licensed in the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication
Free to reuse and modify without attribution.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

#ERRE witness positions on online voting

These are the positions of witnesses before the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) about online voting, based on their testimony.
Only witnesses with testimony posted online are listed in the table; more will be added as testimony is made available.

First name Last name Role / Position Credentials Position on online voting Quote(s) Date
Maryam Monsef Minister of Democratic Institutions Supportive but concerned about security Online voting and similar reforms that embrace the technological advances we have today should be seen as ways to increase participation by removing barriers that may exist for some Canadians.

At all times, though, there should always be a balance between the security and the integrity of the voting process.
July 6, 2016
Marc Mayrand Chief Electoral Officer of Canada more research needs to be done I have no plans to introduce online voting for 2019. ... I think there's still a lot of research to be done, and there are many considerations... social acceptability, security, and vulnerability July 7, 2016
Jean-Pierre Kingsley Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, 1990-2007 Supportive but concerned about security The analogy with online purchasing and banking—and I heard the arguments this morning—is flawed. The argument is flawed, and Marc Mayrand answered that question. Banks and other institutions hedge the risk and they remove the risk, at least most of the time, from the individual. A margin of error is acceptable, against which they successfully hedge, but what margin of error is acceptable to us with the electoral system?

one issue about security of voting. The other one is is the security attached to the transmittal of the vote and then the transmittal of the results.
July 7, 2016
R. Kenneth Carty Professor Emeritus, University of British Colombia PhD in Comparative Politics, Queen's University not an expert, perhaps online voting is something for the future I know nothing about the technicalities. I heard both the current and the past Chief Electoral Officer say they don't believe that the security concerns have been dealt with yet. I think this is an issue probably for the future. July 25, 2016
Brian Tanguay Professor, Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University PhD in Political Science from Carleton University not an expert, concerned about security but cautiously interested This isn't something that I have done research on, but like Professor Wiseman I would be worried about the security aspects of online voting. However, nonetheless I am intrigued by the prospect and believe that a number of studies at the municipal level here in Ontario are being conducted or will be conducted in the future, and ought to continue to be conducted. I think it's definitely something that should be explored.

All the while we should keep in mind that the Internet is not necessarily a secure environment for this kind of thing.
July 25, 2016
Nelson Wiseman Director, Canadian Studies Program, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Ph.D., University of Toronto (area of specialisation unknown) not in favour of Internet voting, not an expert, very concerned about security You've also discussed Internet voting. I don't favour that either, but if it is going to be used, I think it should only be for the housebound and the disabled.

In my limited reading in this area I've seen that the preponderance of experts are opposed to it because it's easy...well, not easy, but you can hack the system.

A few years ago three federal government departments were hacked. We have no idea of how extensive the information was that was lifted. Also, we just had the Democratic Party, the DNC, hacked.

At the University of Toronto the students decided—students are ahead of me, I don't even have a cellphone—that by having Internet voting it would increase participation because turnout was only 15% when students went to vote. They introduced Internet voting and turnout was 15%.

Two or three years ago, the University of Western Ontario had an election for their student council and president and it was hacked. The NDP had a convention to select the leader and snafus appeared. Can you imagine what will happen on election night?

The Internet is convenient, but incidentally it's not a social activity. It's social when you show up at the polls, you meet your neighbours, you get in line, and you talk to other people. Pressing these buttons at home is cocooning.
July 25, 2016
Michael Marsh Emeritus Professor, Trinity College Dublin (Department of Political Science) PhD (university and specalisation unknown) online voting is a long way away In simple terms, we [Ireland] don't have online voting. Postal voting is very difficult here, and I think online voting is a long way away.

There is research on postal voting. In some jurisdictions, I think Sweden, most people vote long before the election takes place. The hope was that postal voting would make it easier to vote, and therefore would raise turnout. Most of the research with which I am familiar says that what happens is that those people who would vote anyway find it easier to vote, and those people who wouldn't vote anyway don't vote just because they can vote by post. It facilitates the regular voter, not someone who's turned off from the system.
July 26, 2016
Michael Gallagher Professor of Comparative Politics, Trinity College Dublin PhD, Strathclyde, School of Government & Public Policy concerned about secrecy of the ballot, no demand in Ireland for online voting It's hard to envisage an online voting system that has a paper component to it. One concern about online voting here and in a lot of countries would be the secrecy of the ballot, which means in this country not just that you don't have to show anyone else how you voted, but you can't prove to anyone else how you voted even if you want to. The fear, then, is that if there were online voting, how do we know there isn't someone sitting and looking over your shoulder, making you vote in a particular way or bribing you to vote in a particular way? If there were a paper record of how you voted, then clearly the problems would be even greater, so there is really no demand here for online voting.

I realize that is one of the terms of reference of the committee, but it's not something that Ireland could really throw much light on.
July 26, 2016
Patrice Dutil Professor, Ryerson University (Department of Politics and Public Administration) PhD in History from York University more research needed, would support if it was "accurate and foolproof" The third point is that I do support continued research on online voting and its eventual adoption once we are all assured that it is accurate and foolproof. July 26, 2016
Peter Russell Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto Rhodes Scholar, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, B.A. with first class honours in 1957 [reference] no position stated July 26, 2016
Tom Rogers Electoral Commissioner, Australian Electoral Commission Australia does not have national online voting; Parliamentary inquiry recommended against it Electronic voting is a matter for the Australian Parliament, not for the AEC, and it would require a change to our legislation. At the federal level we do not use electronic voting, nor do we use Internet voting. In 2014 our electoral matters committee inquired into the topic of electronic voting, and I will just quote from that for one moment. It found that “irrespective of one's philosophical view about electronic voting, ...there can be no widespread introduction of electronic voting in the near term without massive costs and unacceptable security risks.”

At the state and territory level, some commissions have trialed electronic voting. In the Australian Capital Territory, where Canberra is located, electronic voting has been used in early voting centres since 2001. They use a system of personal computers. In New South Wales, Internet voting was trialed in 2011 and 2015 for particular categories of voters... I am aware of significant media commentary surrounding security aspects of this system, but I'm unable to comment further. I don't own that system.

...a 2014 report of the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, which is our parliamentary oversight committee. They did a comprehensive hearing into this topic and have written a comprehensive report on it. That quote came from that report, in which at that point in 2014 they acknowledged that whilst it may be inevitable at some point, they pointed out the significant risks that might accrue from electronic voting or Internet voting if it weren't done properly. [Note: see blog post Australia concludes electronic voting would catastrophically compromise election integrity]
July 26, 2016
Robert Peden Chief Electoral Officer, New Zealand no position stated [Note: On slide 25 "Electronic Voting" of the presentation (PDF) provided by the New Zealand Electoral Commission, it states:
  • No current legislative plans to introduce electronic voting for parliamentary elections
  • Trial proposed for 2016 local authority elections not proceeding
July 26, 2016
Henry Milner Senior Researcher, Chair in Electoral Studies, Université de Montréal unable to determine not an expert, voting in person is better This is not an area I've looked at, so I can't talk about research. I'm uncomfortable with it because maybe I'm just an old fogey, but I think too much is happening online for people and not enough is happening in their communities. As long as we can find ways of getting people to actually vote with their neighbours, I would prefer that. I haven't been persuaded that online helps us much. July 27, 2016
Alex Himelfarb Clerk of the Privy Council, 2002-2006 Ph.D in sociology from University of Toronto would prefer electronic voting—if it increased access and participation—to mandatory voting In the spirit of old fogeys, I too quite like the idea of elections as a collective experience. I think that's hugely valuable. On the other hand, I would prefer electronic voting—if it increased access and participation—to mandatory voting. To the extent that it might actually increase the voting of young Canadians, I find it somewhat attractive despite my basic fogeyness. July 27, 2016
André Blais Professor, Department of Political Science, Université de Montréal Ph.D. in Political science from York University concerned about security, we should move cautiously I'm certainly open to the idea. The concern, as Mr. Mayrand has mentioned, is whether we can really make sure that the system cannot be hacked. I think we should move very cautiously in that direction. July 27, 2016
Leslie Seidle Research Director, Canada's Changing Federal Community, Institute for Research on Public Policy DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford no position stated July 27, 2016
Larry LeDuc Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Toronto Ph.D from the University of Michigan (area of specialization unknown) no position stated July 27, 2016
Hugo Cyr Dean, Faculty of Political Science and Law, Université du Québec à Montréal LL.D. (Université de Montréal) be cautious. concerned about the secret ballot and coercion. online voting won't dramatically increase youth turnout. I would just like to make a comment on online voting. We haven't said much about it. Personally, I would advise you to be cautious about this. We know that ballot secrecy protects the voter, but, above all, it also protects the system against fraud. When the ballot is secret, it cannot be sold easily, because buyers have no way of knowing whether the people trying to sell their vote are telling the truth about how they actually voted.

Online voting, which is done remotely over the Internet, basically makes it possible to disclose the information required to vote and makes the vote much more susceptible to horse trading. There is therefore a risk, which is not trivial since we now use social networks a lot more, and so on. I do have reservations about this, and I don't think that simply making it possible to vote online will dramatically increase turnout among younger voters.
July 27, 2016
Dennis Pilon Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, York University PhD from York University (Politics) no position stated July 28, 2016
Jonathan Rose Associate Professor, Department of Policital Studies, Queen's University Ph.D. in Political Science from Queen's University no position stated July 28, 2016
Maryantonett Flumian President, Institute on Governance (speaking on behalf of the Institute) a Master’s Degree in History and completed comprehensive exams towards a PhD in History at the University of Ottawa very strongly in favour of online voting, research needed on confidentiality and integrity ...the ability to vote online would make a difference [in voter turnout] as well.

A survey commissioned by us at the Institute on Governance—not yet published, but I will make it available to the committee after my appearance—shows that Canadians widely endorse online voting. I believe that technology that could and must ensure both the confidentiality and the integrity of an online voting process must be aggressively explored now, while we still have a few years to go.

People live their lives online, do their banking online, and pay their taxes online, but they can't vote online. A younger generation does not understand this, and frankly neither do I. I say let Canada be at the vanguard of piloting, experimenting, and implementing online voting as quickly as possible.

[Also see IOG blog post - Democratic Reform in Canada: Online Voting, Referenda, and the Governance Ecosystem #ERRE]
July 28, 2016

Number of witnesses to date with computer science, computer security, or voting technology expertise: 0.
(Note however that the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada is advised by people who have such expertise, as are other electoral officers.)

Kudos to those who are non-experts in online voting who declared so, and who urged caution.

Note that despite Dr. Tanguay's perception, there have been no technical studies of online voting at the municipal level in Ontario. Only non-technical investigations. Also note that Maryantonett Flumian's assertion that online voting would increase turnout is not supported by the evidence.

If you do have expertise in computer science, computer security, or voting technology, I encourage you to participate in the committee (by October 6, 2016 at the latest) as a witness and/or by submitting a brief.

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