Paper 2021/1122

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

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


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.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
E-VotingPaper-based VotingSecurity AnalysisComparability
Contact author(s)
nemes @ fzi de
rebecca schwerdt @ kit edu
loewe @ ira uka de
2021-09-03: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Marc Nemes and Rebecca Schwerdt and Dirk Achenbach and Bernhard Löwe and Jörn Müller-Quade},
      title = {And Paper-Based is Better? Towards Comparability of Classic and Cryptographic Voting Schemes},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1122},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
Note: In order to protect the privacy of readers, does not use cookies or embedded third party content.