Electronic Poll Book Systems as Distributed Systems: Requirements and Challenges

Posted: May 20th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , , ,

Electronic poll books are computerized systems that replace paper-based voter lists, having the potential for speeding up Election Day check-in at the polling place, and making voter history records and voter lists more accurate by reducing human errors in dealing with printed voter lists and post-election transcription. At the same time, electronic poll books are non-trivial distributed computing systems, and ensuring correctness, security, integrity, fault-tolerance, and performance of such systems is a challenging engineering problem. This paper deals exclusively with the distributed system aspects of electronic poll book solutions and focuses on the obstacles that are inherent in any distributed system that must deal with failure and asynchrony while providing a consistent and dependable service. We review several requirements that need to be satisfied by electronic poll book systems, then we discuss selected important results from distributed computing research that the developers of electronic poll book systems need to be aware of. An important conclusion is that electronic poll book development is an attractive application domain for the research results in dependable distributed computing.

Electronic Poll Book Systems as Distributed Systems: Requirements and Challenges

Case Study: Election Partnerships

Posted: August 29th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , ,

Electiononline.org has issued a report concerning the various partnerships that are in place to assist election officials. Check the UCONN-partnership-report.pdf

A Summary Comparison of the Optical Scan (OS) and the Touch Screen (TS) Voting Terminals

Posted: June 29th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , , , , , ,

This summary presents an impartial discussion of the two voting technologies in wide use as of this writing (2007): Optical Scan and Touch Screen technologies. The purpose of the presentation is to better the understanding of the pros and cons offered by these two technologies.

Technical reports:


Security Assessment of the Diebold Optical Scan Voting Terminal

Posted: October 30th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Other Publications | Tags: , , , , , ,

We present an independent security evaluation of the AccuVote Optical Scan voting terminal (AV-OS). We identify a number of new vulnerabilities of this system which, if exploited maliciously, can invalidate the results of an election process utilizing the terminal. Furthermore, based on our findings an AV-OS can be compromised with off-the-shelf equipment in a matter of minutes even if the machine has its removable memory card sealed in place. The basic attack can be applied to effect a variety of results, including entirely neutralizing one candidate so that their votes are not counted, swapping the votes of two candidates, or biasing the results by shifting some votes from one candidate to another. Such vote tabulation corruptions can lay dormant until the election day, thus avoiding detection through pre-election tests.

Based on these findings, we describe new safe-use recommendations for the AV-OS terminal. Specifically, we recommend installation of tamper-resistant seals for (i) removable memory cards, (ii) serial port, (iii) telephone jacks, as well as (iv) screws that allow access into the terminal’s interior; failure to seal any single one of these components renders the terminal susceptible to the attack outlined above. An alternative is to seal the entire Optical Scan system (sans ballot box) into a tamper-resistant container at all times other than preparation for election and deployment in an election. An unbroken chain of custody must be enforced at all times. Post-election audits are also strongly advised.
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