A Systematic Approach to Analyzing Voting Terminal Event Logs

Posted: December 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , , , ,

A Systematic Approach to Analyzing Voting Terminal Event Logs
Laurent D. Michel, Alexander A. Shvartsman and Nikolaj Volgushev
2014 Electronic Voting Technology Workshop/Workshop on Trustworthy Elections (EVT/WOTE’14)
USENIX Journal of Election Technology and Systems (JETS), Volume 2, Number 2, April 2014 www.usenix.org/jets
August 18-19, 2014, San Diego, CA, USA www.usenix.org

This paper presents a systematic approach to automating the analysis of event logs recorded by the electronic voting tabulators in the course of an election. An attribute context-free grammar is used to specify the language of the event logs, and to dis- tinguish compliant event logs (those that adhere to the defined proper conduct of an election) and non-compliant logs (those that deviate from the expected sequence of events). The attributes provide additional means for semantic analysis of the event logs by enforcing constraints on the timing of events and repetitions of events. The system is implemented with the help of commodity tools for lexical analysis and pars- ing of the logs. The system was rigorously tested against several thousand event logs collected in real elections in the State of Connecticut. The approach based on an at- tribute grammar proved to be superior to a previous approach that used state machine specifications. The new system is substantially easier to refine and maintain due to the very intuitive top-down specification. An unexpected benefit is the discovery of revealing and previously unknown deficiencies and defects in the event log recording systems of a widely used optical scan tabulator.

Download full paper:: evt14.pdf

Automating Voting Terminal Event Log Analysis

Posted: August 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , , , , , ,

Automating Voting Terminal Event Log Analysis
Tigran Antonyan, Seda Davtyan, Sotiris Kentros, Aggelos Kiayias, Laurent Michel, Nicolas Nicolaou, Alexander Russell and Alexander Shvartsman
In Proceedings of the 2009 USENIX/ACCURATE Electronic Voting Workshop (EVT 09)
August 10–14, 2009, Montreal, Canada www.usenix.org/events/evtwote09/

In the interest of auditing election procedures, certain electronic voting technologies provide monitoring capabilities that record select actions undertaken by election officials before, during, and after an election process, as well as the conditions present in an electronic voting terminal as the result of its interactions with its environment. In this paper we report on an automated auditing process for detecting procedural irregularities for elections employing the AccuVote Optical Scan (AV-OS) terminal (manufactured by Premier Election Systems).
Our auditing process is derived from an abstract finite state model of the AV-OS; this determines, in particular, a correspondence between state transitions and logged events that separates expected and “irregular” histories. Automating the detection of these irregular histories has permitted us to provide detailed election procedure audits for full-scale Connecticut elections. We conclude the article with a discussion of the result of the event log analysis performed within the post-election audit of the November 2008 elections in Connecticut.
Additionally, we identify a defect and some deficiencies in the AV-OS event logging subsystem that can interfere with the event log transcript making it vulnerable to manipulation and discuss the effects of these deficiencies.
This research is funded by the Office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut.

Download full paper:: evt09.pdf