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Pretty Good Democracy Suggests Path to Internet Elections


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University of Melbourne fellow Vanessa Teague says that Internet voting systems cannot provide both high levels of privacy and vote verifiability, and she is an advocate of the Pretty Good Democracy online voting system.

Pretty Good Democracy is based on code voting, which assigns each voter a random code for every ballot measure option. Users send their choices in code to a voting server and get an acknowledgment code for each selection. But Teague notes that simple code voting has a major weakness, and that is "if the people running the election misbehave, then it's all over."

Pretty Good Democracy adds a layer of security by requiring a group of trustees to register the vote before it is recorded as cast on an online bulletin board. The trustees would get an encrypted message from the vote server containing the voter's choice code, and because the voter choice codes are random and the server would not have stored on it all of the possible choice codes from the voter's code sheet, a voter's intent could not be undermined by encryption of a different choice code, Teague says. Trustees would then employ a distributed plaintext equivalence test to decode the choice codes and match them with known random codes.

From Fierce Government IT
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