Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/1122

And Paper-Based is Better? Towards Comparability of Classic and Cryptographic Voting Schemes

Marc Nemes and Rebecca Schwerdt and Dirk Achenbach and Bernhard Löwe and Jörn Müller-Quade

Abstract: In today's real-world elections the choice of the voting scheme is often more subject to dogma and tradition than the result of an objective and scientific selection process. As a consequence, it is left to intuition whether the chosen scheme satisfies desired security properties, while objectively more suitable schemes might be rejected without due cause. Employing a scientific selection process to decide on a specific voting scheme is currently infeasibly cumbersome. Even those few schemes which have been thouroughly analyzed do not provide easily comparable analysis results or fail to provide the information desired for real-world application. Hence there is a strong need to increase meaningful comparability, allowing democracies to choose the voting scheme that is best suited for their setting. In this paper we analyze which factors currently impede the comparability of both classic and cryptographic voting schemes and which information is needed to facilitate meaningful comparisons. As a first result we find that there is a severe lack of general understanding of the workings and properties of the classic paper-based systems which are in use around the world today. In this we highlight that commonly voiced intuitive comparisons especially to classic paper-based voting lack the necessary scientific basis and are therefore no sufficient foundation. We then develop an analysis framework to concisely showcase the most important characteristics of a voting scheme as well as to enable comparisons to other schemes. The utility of our analysis framework is demonstrated by analyzing and comparing two examples. Our work underlines the need for more academic work towards the comparability of voting schemes and lays a foundation for addressing this issue.

Category / Keywords: foundations / E-Voting, Paper-based Voting, Security Analysis, Comparability

Date: received 2 Sep 2021

Contact author: nemes at fzi de, rebecca schwerdt at kit edu, loewe at ira uka de

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Version: 20210903:065939 (All versions of this report)

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