Whitepapers

State-of-the-Art Security Performs First-Rate Threat Mitigation in Convention Elections

Published 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world, touching every aspect of our lives. Elections are no exception. This paper explores the emerging security datasets around the performance of the Voatz remote voting system while conducting virtual conventions in April 2020. During this time, the Voatz system processed a record 7,000 votes on its platform during a single election period. As a result, Voatz was able to collect a rich dataset of device and network level threat detection and mitigation events. This paper analyzes this dataset, the implications of the insights, and considerations for the applicability of mobile security for high-stakes industries, whether governmental, financial, or critical infrastructure related.

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Standardization of Remote Ballot Marking & Return Through A Rigorous National Study & Examination

Published 2020

The 2020 election cycle is creating a challenge impacting all who are interested in, concerned about, and enabled by our electoral system. Citizens, republican and democratic state election officials, states themselves, candidates, federal agencies like the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP), and lawmakers in Washington without exception have a stake in a successful 2020 election.

The principle of one person, one vote in a private, secure system, is among the highest values enshrined in our nation’s democracy. Our entire voting system is being challenged by myriad factors, which include the persistence of the novel coronavirus and the national and personal economic fallout. These existential challenges are profoundly affecting state budgets, creating difficulty for converting polling-place voting systems to mail, and concern about our elections system’s overall fairness and effectiveness.

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Beyond “Security”: Addressing the Hidden Crisis in Our Elections

Published 2020

A quiet but mounting crisis threatens to undermine the integrity of the U.S. election system. It’s not the danger of foreign hacking and interference, though the threats are intertwined. Rather it is the dramatic increase in the cost of administering our elections, a figure which has surged since 2016.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise: Our election system has become the latest battlefront in the asymmetric warfare which is the hallmark of the 21st century, with our adversaries using relatively modest resources to cause disproportionate harm. Faced with resulting skyrocketing costs of protecting our political system, our leaders must fundamentally rethink how we conduct elections. We should employ a new vocabulary that captures the limits of security and emphasizes instead systemic resilience.

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The Road to Online Voting

Published 2020

The dream of online voting is as old as the Internet itself. The road to achieve that goal has been long, marked by high-profile setbacks and less-noticed but still important progress. It is a path marked with deep skepticism and loud, security-focused critics. It is a journey which we are not close to finishing. Yet, as the late Nelson Mandela is credited with saying, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

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Voatz Mobile Voting Platform
Security, Identity, Auditability: An Overview

Published 2019, 2020

Mobile voting is a much-needed, long overdue response to the challenges faced by an important segment of the American electorate: people whose circumstances make it impossible or inconvenient to vote conventionally. The Voatz Mobile Voting Platform adds a new, fourth voting method to the ways America’s electorate votes…This paper introduces security concepts and technologies that are widely used in other industries. It describes how Voatz has incorporated them into a new, resilient remote ballot marking system that addresses the three major security-related obstacles that have stymied progress in online voting: Security (device security, network security and secure storage of returned ballots), identity (identity proofing, voter authentication and binding), and auditability (voter-verified and transparent, jurisdiction run post-election audits).

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Remote Digital Identity
Technology for Mobile Voting & Beyond

Published 2019

The means to reliably establish the identity of citizens residing outside of their election jurisdiction has been an unsolved problem since the earliest days of elections. In 2017, theNational Institute forStandards andTechnology (NIST)publishedSP800-63-3 “Digital Identity Guidelines” for federal agencies seeking to improve the convenience of providing digital services to their constituents while maintaining the security of their IT infrastructure – problems faced by every election official. This paper “translates” the NIST technical guidelines for an audience of non-technical election officials who seek greater security in election administration and to improve the convenience to voters whose circumstances effectively prevent them from voting in person or by mail.

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Under the Hood: The West Virginia Mobile Voting Pilot

Published 2019

In 2018, West Virginia’s Secretary of State Mac Warner launched the nation’s first mobile voting pilot for UOCAVA voters. For the first time, on their own Apple or Android smartphone, an authenticated registered voter was able to receive, mark and submit a secret ballot of the correct style from virtually anywhere in the world. Every ballot submitted was encrypted and stored on a geographically distributed and redundant network of blockchain servers managed by the two largest providers of cloud infrastructure. Once stored on the blockchain, the voter could review his/her ballot, request that it be spoiled if necessary and vote a second ballot on his/her smartphone. At the close of polls, every ballot was printed at the county and tabulated on federally certified tabulation equipment. Post-election audits were performed on every ballot submitted by smartphones. This paper describes the Secretary’s goals, the lessons learned, and how the system worked under the hood.

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