Back to Publications

From Centralized to Decentralized Remote Electronic Voting

Elections generally involve the simple tasks of counting votes and publishing the final tally to voters. Depending on the election’s scope, these processes require sophisticated methods embedded in the electorate’s various technological and societal factors (e.g., the voting culture). An election’s integrity is the pinnacle of the trust placed in the voting process and its final results. Previous research on cryptographic voting schemes continuously refined voting protocols to achieve private and verifiable elections. These cryptographic schemes enable novel ways to allow remote voting systems to (i) provide a remote voting alternative to on-site voting with a ballot box and (ii) offer a technical path to building an end-to-end verifiable Electronic Voting system by applying cryptographic primitives. This chapter explicitly addresses Remote Electronic Voting (REV), which enables vote casting in an uncontrolled environment and vote transmission over communication channels (e.g., over the Internet). Further, this chapter clarifies how the Distributed Ledger (DL) technology can enhance the decentralization of the electoral process, ensuring transparency and the ability to verify results while guaranteeing the confidentiality of voters. Thus, necessary cryptographic fundamentals and examples of voting schemes, their properties, and trade-offs will be investigated. The different approaches toward REV systems are detailed, followed by an overview of related work. Further, a centralized REV voting system architecture, all stakeholders involved, and critical trust assumptions are outlined. This leads to the proposal of a fully decentralized architecture, which is being evaluated in qualified discussions with respect to long-term privacy, verifiability, and voter authentication. Finally, open research aspects are complemented by overall considerations on decentralized REV.