[Resource Topic] 2024/926: Verifiable and Private Vote-by-Mail

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Verifiable and Private Vote-by-Mail

Authors: Henri Devillez, Olivier Pereira, Thomas Peters


Vote-by-mail is increasingly used in Europe and worldwide for government elections. Nevertheless, very few attempts have been made towards the design of verifiable vote-by-mail, and none of them come with a rigorous security analysis. Furthermore, the ballot privacy of the currently deployed (non-verifiable) vote-by-mail systems relies on procedural means that a single malicious operator can bypass.

We propose a verifiable vote-by-mail system that can accommodate the constraints of many of the large ballots that are common in Europe. Verifiability and privacy hold unless multiple system components collude to cheat on top of the postal channel. These security notions are expressed and analyzed in the simplified UC security framework.

Our vote-by-mail system only makes limited requirements on the voters: voters can verify their vote by copying and comparing short strings and verifying the computation of a single hash on a short input, and they can vote normally if they want to ignore the verification steps completely. Our system also relies on common cryptographic components, all available in the ElectionGuard verifiable voting SDK for instance, which limits the risks of errors in the implementation of the cryptographic aspects of the system.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2024/926

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