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Voting observation in the context of the Swiss internet voting projects

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Title: Voting observation in the context of the Swiss internet voting projects


1
Voting observation in the context of the Swiss
internet voting projects
  • Workshop on the "Observation of e-enabled
    elections Oslo, 18-19 March 2010

2
  1. Context
  2. International guidelines on i-voting observation
  3. Regulatory framework
  4. I-voting observation in practice
  5. Conclusions

3
  • Switzerland a federal state (cantons have big
    cstl autonomy with respect to political rights)
    and a (semi-) direct democracy (frequent votes at
    communal, cantonal and federal level)
  • Three voting channels at federal level polling
    station, postal voting (fully liberalized),
    i-voting (currently available to a part of the
    electorate in 4 cantons three of them have
    developed their own i-voting system)
  • A fourth channel at cantonal, communal level
    Landsgemeinde
  • Switzerland is the only country to have fully
    liberalized distant postal voting at federal
    level some 90 of voters vote (4 times a year)
    and elect (each 4 years) through this channel
  • I-voting is being tested 10 years with the aim
    of meeting existing needs (ex. Swiss abroad) and
    to gain experience currently 5 of the federal
    electorate are being involved in internet voting
    tests

4
  • Control procedures vary depending on the voting
    channel
  • Landsgemeinde (only cantonal and communal level)
    each voter can see the result and hear the
    estimation of results
  • Polling station vote democratic control (of
    voting, counting, establishing and transmission
    of results) is exercised by voters
    representatives jurés and electoral commissions
  • Postal vote same control as vote at polling
    station
  • i-voting the impossibility to see needs be
    compensated
  • Andreas Auer, Nicolas von Arx, La légitimité
    des procédures de vote les défis du
    e-votinghttp//www.geneve.ch/evoting/doc/rappor
    ts/legitimite_e-vote.pdf

5
  1. Context
  2. International guidelines on i-voting observation
  3. Regulatory framework
  4. I-voting observation in practice
  5. Conclusions

6
  • 1990 OSCE Copenhagen commitments
  • Council of Europe Venise CommissionCode of
    good practice in electoral matters (2002)Code of
    good practice on Referendums (2006)
  • Council of Europe Recommendation on Legal,
    Operational and Technical Standards for E-Voting
    (2004)
  • OSCE-ODIHR Discussion paper in preparation of
    guidelines for the observation of electronic
    voting (2008)

7
  1. Context
  2. International guidelines on i-voting observation
  3. Regulatory framework
  4. I-voting observation in practice
  5. Conclusions

8
Regulation of observation in general
  • Art. 34.2 Federal Constitution1 Political
    rights shall be guaranteed.
  • 2 The guarantee of political rights protects the
    freedom of the citizen to form an opinion and to
    give genuine expression to his or her
    will.Extent modalities - regulated in
    cantonal legislation
  • Internal partisan and non-partisan observation
    andinternational observation are not explicitly
    foreseen in federal law (but are possible).
  • Internal partisan observation (and sometime
    non-partisan) is foreseen in cantonal/communal
    legislations.
  • Ways are always found to allow interested
    non-partisan observers to follow the election
    process see OSCE/ODIHR Election Assessment
    Mission Report, Swiss Confederation federal
    elections 21 october 2007, chap. IV, E

9
Regulation specific to i-voting observation
  • Art. 8a.2 BPR/LDP (electronic voting) - the
    verification of eligibility to vote, voting
    secrecy and the counting of all the votes cast
    must be guaranteed and abuses prevented - the
    Federal Council (Gvt.) regulates
    details Federal control exercised during the
    authorization procedure
  • Asked how observers could exercise their task in
    the context of internet voting, the Federal
    Council replied (2005) that electoral
    commissions could also be involved in the
    establishing of internet voting results. Details
    are regulated in cantonal legislation.Democratic
    control exercised through electoral commissions
  • Individual voters control? Regulated in
    cantonal law

10
  1. Context
  2. International guidelines on i-voting observation
  3. Regulatory framework
  4. I-voting observation in practice
  5. Conclusions

11
Federal authorization
  • When applying for authorization, cantons have to
    prove that i-voting will respect federal
    requirements
  • They submit a complete documentation (complete
    transparency) to the federal authority
  • An independent verification (ordered by the
    federal authority) is done when a system is first
    implemented and at each system modification
  • Federal authorities have access to audit reports
    (ordered and paid by cantons)
  • Issue of authorization is conditioned by
    implementation of recommendations for
    improvements
  • The Federal Council can withdraw the
    authorization
  • Communication concept for reporting problems
    during an i-voting trial is implemented

12
Electoral commission (best practices)
  • A permanent electoral commission (EC) controls
    the regularity of i-voting (partisannon partisan
    observers)
  • EC can access documentation incl. source code of
    the applications and order controls all the time
  • EC encrypts and decrypts the electronic ballot
    box makes a control vote during a real vote
    (27nbis VPR/ODP). Control votes are treated as
    other votes. At the end of the vote the electoral
    commission can see whether systematic external
    manipulation of the ballot box occurred
  • Procedural measures (federal and cantonal
    provisions) to control internal threats have been
    adopted. Ex. any intervention in the system
    during the vote should be duly authorized, made
    by at least 2 persons (specific employment
    rules), duly reported and controlled ( incl. by
    observers)
  • System monitoring produces observable data

13
Individual elector (best practices)
  • Voter can verify that her vote was counted
    (control codes published on the Internet after
    the end of the vote)
  • Transparency (publication of documents) of
    internet voting systems is regulated by cantonal
    legislation transparency laws, political rights
    regulation and regulation specific to internet
    portal of cantons. Best practices include
  • Audits results are published
  • Source code of the applications is made available
    for verification to any voter with an
    ideal/scientific interest who agrees to respect
    its confidentiality (upheld by the Federal
    supreme court)
  • Access to other system documents same as access
    to source code

14
  1. Context
  2. International guidelines on i-voting observation
  3. Regulatory framework
  4. I-voting observation in practice
  5. Conclusions

15
  • In Switzerland Internet voting observation is
    organized similar to postal voting observation
    through an electoral commission. Technical and
    procedural measures as well as access to the
    entire documentation by a permanent commission,
    make such observation meaningful
  • Identification of best existing practices and
    their dissemination in i-voting cantons. Adopting
    specific communal/cantonal regulation takes more
    time
  • Individual traceability (each voter verifies
    that her vote was counted as cast) is not
    possible in other voting channels. Its
    feasibility in the Internet voting context is
    being studied (workshop on transparent i-voting
    systems, Fribourg 6 September 2010,
    www.e-voting-cc.ch/)

16
Thank you !
  • ardita.driza-maurer_at_bk.admin.ch
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