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Improving the Transparency of Remote E-Voting: The Estonian Experience


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Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V.


Pilot projects in the area of remote e-voting have been carried out in several countries but the number of those projects in which the Internet-cast votes are legally binding remains small. Estonia, indeed, has been the first country to introduce Internet voting in which legitimate results were obtained at the national level. In local government elections in October 2005 and March 2007 parliamentary elections, Internet balloting was used without controversy. The number of I-voters was three times higher in 2007 compared to 2005. Elections need to enjoy broad public confidence to be a legitimate, meaningful democratic exercise. Remote e-voting has twice been offered as an additional channel to Estonian voters, and in both cases the system’s operation has been considered successful, both technically and politically. Technically, all systems and procedures functioned well and there were no security problems. Politically, the election results were legitimate and there were no proceedings initiated to challenge the Internet voting option. This paper gives an overview about tools for voters that reduce the negative effects of remote e-voting and improve confidence in the new voting system. A question will be proposed how the observation of remote Internet voting can be put in practice in order to resolve the transparency problems. After two Internet-enabled elections, international observers and researchers have made many recommendations regarding how to improve the transparency of the electoral administration. The paper discusses whether the recommendations focusing on testing, auditing and certification of the voting system are applicable in the light of Estonian experiences.


Maaten, Epp; Hall, Thad (2008): Improving the Transparency of Remote E-Voting: The Estonian Experience. Electronic Voting 2008 (EVOTE08). 3rd International Conference on Electronic Voting 2008, Co-organized by Council of Europe, Gesellschaft für Informatik and EVoting.CC. Bonn: Gesellschaft für Informatik e. V.. PISSN: 1617-5468. ISBN: 978-3-88579-225-3. pp. 31-43. Regular Research Papers. Bregenz, Austria. August 6th-9th, 2008