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Internet-Based and Open Source: How E-Voting Works Around the Globe

By Ars Technica

November 7, 2016

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Although electronic voting in various forms has become more prevalent outside the U.S., its primary difficulties include its inability to verify source code and cost.

Brazil's direct recording electronic system sought to enfranchise illiterate voters, and in its nearly 20-year reign it has prevailed thanks to an onscreen display of candidates and vote confirmation printouts, despite a lack of source code verification.

Meanwhile, Australia's Australian Capital Territory adopted an open source e-voting software model combining Linux-based PCs, multilingual ballots, barcodes and scanners, and keylogging. Size and hardware expenses have been the chief obstacles for the model's wider expansion throughout the country.

Internet-based voting is broadly implemented in Estonia, built atop a digital ID card infrastructure that universally replaces written signatures and is applicable anywhere. However, former ACM president Barbara Simons cites the uncertainty of this system's legitimacy because Estonia's government has never performed post-election auditing.

The Spanish startup Scytl is drawing interest with a crypto-voting solution offering secure ballot transmission to individual voters, but its source code has not been released to the public for vetting.

The lack of verification is the main reason why many experts continue to oppose e-voting.

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