First Workshop on Voter Verified Elections

Participants in the workshop, ITU, Copenhagen

Date: October 5, 2012 from 08:30 AM to 18:00 PM

Location: IT-University of Copenhagen, Denmark, room 5A14

The workshop has been held and proved a great success. 33 academics, project leaders, officials and many others from as far as Turkey and USA participated in the debate on future Voter Verified Elections. See below for pictures of the talks.


09:00 - 10:00 - Key note by ​Rene Peralta
10:00 - 10:15 - Coffee Break
10:15 - 12:00 - Theme 1 (see below)
12:00 - 13:00 - Lunch
13:00 - 14:45 - Theme 2 (see below)
14:45 - 15:00 - Coffee Break
15:00 - 16:45 - Theme 3 (see below)
16:45 - 17:00 - Coffee Break
17:00 - 18:00 - Theme 4 (see below)
19:00 - 20:00 - Dinner


DemTech is running the First DemTech Nordic-Baltic Workshop on Voter Verified Elections, taking place on 5 October 2012 and hosted at the IT University of Copenhagen. Thank you for your interest in the event and your contribution of your valuable time, energy, and knowledge.

Disclaimer: We do not want this to be yet-another-evoting workshop. We do not want to hear and give elided talks about past successes, with little details and little time for discussion or—dare we say it?—arguments. We do not want to hear the spun, sanitized, unnuanced messages of politicians and consultancies about how everything went exactly as planned. We do not want to ignore the socio-political realities of elections, where the the theory of electoral schemes and the reality of machines coursing with electricity only passingly resemble each other.

What we hope to achieve with the workshop.

Firstly, we want to create an opportunity to network. We all know of each other, but we really do not know each other, including the technical and socio-political underpinnings of your work. We would like to learn what went wrong or right during development, testing, and deployment of your systems. We would like to understand better, what expectation administrators had and which degree they were satisfied. We want to know how you designed the success criteria to evaluate trials. How did the introduction of evoting affect the political and legal landscape in your country?

Secondly, we want you to share—we want you to over-share—and we want to do the same. We want to hear about the ugliness of law, the impenetrable nature of crypto-schemes, the naivete of bureaucrats, the high hopes of designs and the travesty of implementations, the talk of transparency and open source then the reality of systems whose ship dates vanish into the future, the talk of security as a first principle and then the hack-job of junior consultants, the non-functional requirements of elections that we all know by heart and the lack of testing and laughable certification. We want to not be hypocrites.

Finally, we want to do community-building, with an aim toward obtaining future funding for a major EU project for all of us. We believe that our communities are too focused at the national level, and spend too much time designing and building independent schemes and systems. Solving this problem for the public good, especially in and for national states that need it most and have no local researchers or mature national IT infrastructure, will require all of our expertise and cooperation.

Biographies and Position Papers: We would like all participants to write a short-and-sweet biography and brave position statement that may contain a nuggets of activism and trouble-making.

Pre-workshop Discussion: We would also like those of you with the time and interest to participate in a pre-workshop discussion on themes. Example topics floated within DemTech include “Is there a place for voter-verifiable elections?”, “permanent secrecy vs. reality”, “the role of corporations vs. non-profits vs. research projects”, “evoting in developing democracies”, and “engaging the public from day zero”.

Program: We intend to kick-off the day with an invited talk by Ben Goldsmith, Chief of Party Kosovo, followed by a set of parallel self-organized tracks focusing on key questions and issues.

Broadcast: In the spirit of transparency, we intend to broadcast portions of the event over the internet so that remote parties who wish to listen in can do so and perhaps ask questions over Twitter. We also intend to record the entire event and produce a transcript included in a DemTech technical report. Also, potentially, we'd like to summarize the events key messages and conclusions in an academic paper co-authored by all participants.

For more information, please contact Joseph Kiniry, Randi Markussen, or Carsten Schürmann.


Theme 1

How are fundamental democratic ideas of secrecy of the vote and citizen control of the election addressed when modernizing elections? Is there a place for voter-verifiable elections?

Do we need new institutions to take care of this problem and how to manage it? What part of the election process should be digitalized? Are there alternatives to the current way of classifying/ designing the work? What would a pragmatic approach to security look like?

Theme 2

What is the role of the public, public administrations, corporations vs. non-profits vs. research projects in modernizing elections? How does one evaluate trials? What methods do we need, who should participate, who should be responsible, who should learn form the trial and with what consequences?

How do we manage failures and risk?

Theme 3

What is the role of evoting in developing democracies? How does various stakeholders/ participants engage with the public from day zero?

Theme 4

Joined European grant application.

How do we proceed from here? How should an application look like? Which important issues should be included?

An example comment: I think that this workshop is going to be great, but I really want a discussion about how useless it is to provide beverages at polling places! -Joe Kiniry 17 Sept 2012


Rene Peralta from NIST is giving the keynote.
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Prof. Peter Ryan is kicking off theme #1 ("Secrecy").
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Christian Bull on the Norwegian e-voting experiences.
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Tarvi Martens about Estonian elections.
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Douglas Wikström on the need for formal proofs of protocols.
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Ingvar Tjøstheim reflects upon surveys vs. trials in general.
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Mehmet Sabir Kiraz reflects upon Turkey's interes in e-voting.
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