Visible to the public  TWC: TTP Option: Medium: Voting Systems Architectures for Security and UsabilityConflict Detection Enabled

Project Details

Lead PI

Performance Period

Jun 01, 2014 - May 31, 2018


William Marsh Rice University

Award Number

The security and integrity of elections is paramount in the furtherance of democracy. However, enhanced security often comes at the cost of making voting systems significantly more difficult for voters to use. With input from stakeholders in the voting process (most notably Travis County, Texas), we are constructing a prototype voting system and investigating how to design such a system so that it is significantly more secure than current solutions, without making it harder to participate in the election process. This research is closing knowledge gaps identified when designing a complex voting system that must satisfy stringent security, auditability, and usability constraints. We are conducting research on all aspects of this secure-but-usable voting system by defining the cryptography-user interactions, establishing scalable public bulletin-board systems that allow and encourage voters to verify their votes, engineering the software for the voting console, determining the correctness of the vote tallying system and understanding how voters and poll workers select and authorize specific voting stations. We are employing an iterative usability assessment and rapid design strategy that allows us to converge onto an optimal voting solution that satisfies the often-conflicting constraints of usability and security. At the conclusion of this research, we intend to have a fully operational prototype of this voting system that has been extensively tested by real voters in the laboratory and the field and is usable in its operation while being robust in its reliability and security.