The Witness-Voting System

  • Ed Gerck
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6000)


We present a new, comprehensive framework to qualitatively improve election outcome trustworthiness, where voting is modeled as an information transfer process. Although voting is deterministic (all ballots are counted), information is treated stochastically using Information Theory. Error considerations, including faults, attacks, and threats by adversaries, are explicitly included. The influence of errors may be corrected to achieve an election outcome error as close to zero as desired (error-free), with a provably optimal design that is applicable to any type of voting, with or without ballots. Sixteen voting system requirements, including functional, performance, environmental and non-functional considerations, are derived and rated, meeting or exceeding current public-election requirements. The voter and the vote are unlinkable (secret ballot) although each is identifiable. The Witness-Voting System (Gerck, 2001) is extended as a conforming implementation of the provably optimal design that is error-free, transparent, simple, scalable, robust, receipt-free, universally-verifiable, 100% voter-verified, and end-to-end audited.


voting trustworthiness secret ballot error-free 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Gritzalis, D. (ed.): Secure Electronic Voting. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Holland (2002) ISBN 1-4020-7301-1Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bannet, J., Price, D.W., Rudys, A., Singer, J., Wallach, D.S.: Hack-a-Vote: Demonstrating Security Issues with Electronic Voting Systems. IEEE Security Privacy Magazine 2(1), 32–37 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jones, D.W.: Evaluation of voting technologies. In: Secure Electronic Voting, ch. 1, ibidGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Circuit Court of the Second Judicial Circuit, Leon County, Judge William Gary, CASE NO. 2006-CA-2973 (2006), Copy online at,
  5. 5.
    Gumbel, A.: Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America. Nation Books (2005)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gerck, E.: Year 2000 Public Sector U.S. Market Intelligence Study. The Bell, vol. 1(1-3) (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at,,
  7. 7.
    Gerck, E.,: Editorial –The Difference Between the Right and the Almost-Right. The Bell 1(7) (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at
  8. 8.
    Cherry, S.: The Perils of Polling. IEEE Spectrum Online (2004),
  9. 9.
    Shannon, C.E.: A Mathematical Theory of Communication. Bell System Technical Journal 27, 623–656 (1948), Copy online at
  10. 10.
    Shannon, C.E.: Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems. Bell System Technical Journal 28, 656–715 (1949), Copy online at,
  11. 11.
    Gallagher, R.G.: Information Theory and Reliable Communication. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1968)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Yu, F.T.S.: Optics and Information Theory. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1976)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cover, T.M., Thomas, J.A.: Elements of Information Theory. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1991)zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gerck, E.: Voting With Witness Voting. In: WOTE 2001 Seminar, Tomales Bay, Calif, Caltech-MIT Voting Technology Project (2001), Copy online at and
  15. 15.
    Feghhi, J., Feghhi, J., Williams, P.: Digital Certificates: Applied Internet Security. In: Gerck, E. (ed.) Trust Points, pp. 194–195. Addison-Wesley, Reading (1998) ISBN 0-20-130980-7, Copy and additional material online at,
  16. 16.
    Gerck, E.: Certification: Extrinsic, Intrinsic and Combined. Published online by the MCG (1997), Copy online at,
  17. 17.
    Gerck, E.: Private, secure and auditable Internet voting. In: Secure Electronic Voting, ch. 11, ibidGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gerck, E.: Voting Systems: from Art To Science. In: Caltech MIT Voting Technology Conference, Pasadena, Calif. (2001), Copy online at,
  19. 19.
    Saltman, R.G.: Independent Verification: Essential Action to Assure Integrity in the Voting Process. NIST Report, Order No. SB134106W0703 (2006)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Saltman, R.G.: Effective Use of Computing Technology in Vote-Tallying, Report NBSIR 75-687 (republished as NBS Special Publication 500-30, 1978), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (1975)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Chaum, D.: Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses, and Digital Pseudonyms. Communications of the ACM 24(2), 84–88 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Cohen, J., Fischer, M.: A robust and verifiable cryptographically secure election scheme. In: Proc. 26th IEEE Symposium on Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS ’85), pp. 372–382. IEEE Computer Society, Los Alamitos (1985)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Benaloh, J.: Verifiable Secret-Ballot Elections. PhD thesis, Yale University, Dept. of Computer Science (1987)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mercuri, R.T.: Physical Verifiability of Computer Systems. In: Proc. of the 5th International Computer Virus and Security Conference (March 1992)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cramer, R., Franklin, M., Schoenmakers, B., Yung, M.: Multi-authority secret ballot elections with linear work. In: Maurer, U.M. (ed.) EUROCRYPT 1996. LNCS, vol. 1070, pp. 72–83. Springer, Heidelberg (1996)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Benaloh, Tuinstra: Receipt-free Secret-ballot Elections. In: STOC ’94, pp. 544–553 (1994)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Gerck, E.: Contra Costa County Shadow Election Report. Final Project Report to the California Secretary of State (2000), Copy online at,
  28. 28.
    Neff, C.A.: A Verifiable Secret Shuffle and its Application to E-Voting. In: Proceedings ACM-CCS 2001, pp. 116–125 (2001)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jakobsson, M., Juels, A., Rivest, R.L.: Making Mix Nets Robust for Electronic Voting by Randomized Partial Checking. In: Proc. Usenix Security, pp. 339–353 (2002) IACR reprint 2002/025Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kiayias, A., Yung, M.: Robust Verifiable Non-Interactive Zero-Sharing: A Voting Utility For Enhanced Privacy. In: Secure Electronic Voting, ch. 9, ibidGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mercuri, R.T., Neumann, P.G.: Verification of Electronic Balloting Systems. In: Secure Electronic Voting, ch. 3, ibidGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Chaum, D.: Secret-Ballot Receipts: True Voter-Verifiable Elections. IEEE Security & Privacy 2(1), 38–47 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Chaum, D., Ryan, P.Y., Schneider, S.A.: A Practical, Voter-verifiable, Election Scheme, Tech. Report Series CS-TR-880, School of Computer Science, Univ. of Newcastle upon Tyne (2004)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Chaum, D., Carback, R., Sherman, A., Clark, J., Popoveniuc, S., Vora, P.L.: Scantegrity: End-to-End Voter-Verifiable Optical-Scan Voting. IEEE Security & Privacy 6(3), 40–46 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Garera, S., Rubin, A.D.: An Independent Audit Framework for Software Dependent Voting Systems. In: 14th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (November 2007)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wysong, T.: Open Source and Open Software. The Bell 1(5) (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at
  37. 37.
    Kitcat, J.: Why Electronic Voting Software Should Be Free Software. The Bell 1(5) (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at
  38. 38.
    Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project Report: What Is, What Could Be (July 2001), Copy online at
  39. 39.
    Bowen, D.: Dr. Strangevote or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Paper Ballot. In: The Security Symposium Keynote, USENIX Security (2008)Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Gerck, E.: Voting System Requirements. In: 5th International Conference Proceedings Financial Cryptography. LNCS, vol. 2339, pp. 243–268. Springer, Heidelberg (2002), An earlier version is available online at
  41. 41.
    Gerck, E.: From Voting to Internet Voting. The Bell 1(1), 5 (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at
  42. 42.
    Mason, D.M.: Rethinking Political Geography. The Bell 1(8), 5 (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at
  43. 43.
    Saltman, R.G.: The Strength of Small Numbers. The Bell 1(6), 5 (2000) ISSN 1530-048X, Copy online at
  44. 44.
    Saltzer, J.H., Reed, D.P., Clark, D.D.: End-to-end arguments in system design. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS) 2(4), 277–288 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    The Bell Newsletter ISSN 1530-048X, Archive online at
  46. 46.
    IVTA Tech WG online archive
  47. 47.
    Gerck, E.: Public Comments. In: “The Future of Internet Voting”, Brookings Institute Symposium, Washington D.C (January 2000), Copy online at,
  48. 48.
    Gerck, E.: Secure Email Technologies X.509/PKI, PGP, IBE and Zmail. In: Krishna, S.J., Raju, E. (eds.) Corporate Email Management, ch. 12, pp. 171–196. ICFAI University Press (2007) ISBN 81-314-12797, Copy online at
  49. 49.
    Thompson, K.: Reflections on Trusting Trust. Communications of the ACM 27(8), 761–763 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    King, S.T., Tucek, J., Cozzie, A., Grier, C., Jiang, W., Zhou, Y.: Designing and Implementing Malicious Hardware. In: Proceedings of the First USENIX Workshop on Large-Scale Exploits and Emergent Threats LEET (April 2008), Copy online at

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ed Gerck
    • 1
  1. 1.Safevote, Inc.San DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations