Internet Voting Technology Alliance

Internet Voting Technology Alliance
(SM)
ivta.org

Created in 2000, the IVTA is an open forum for discussion of the technological issues facing Internet and electronic voting. The IVTA is not an association of vendors or users of voting systems. The IVTA is non-partisan and welcomes all viewpoints.

History

We, more than 50 individual participants from government, non-profit and private backgrounds, created the IVTA in 2000 »

We started a fresh approach to Internet Voting and cybersecurity, for example by adding requirements for public verifiability, ballot secrecy, and perfect voter privacy.

Now, in 2012, our work continues to be influential and useful in practical uses for private and public sector voting, and also on voting standards and developments in several work groups and companies worldwide.

The IVTA does not follow the conventional (and artificial) separation between 'vendors' and 'experts' that characterizes election technology discussions even today. The IVTA was founded on the age-tested principle that arguments should stand on their own technical merit. We believe that people are quite capable of distinguishing rhetoric from fact, especially when open discussions favor the presentation of many points of view that can then be evaluated by reason over time.

Democracy & Technology

Democracy is becoming a popular ideal in the world, as a tool for reaching more perfect freedom, peace, and happiness within a nation and also with neighbors. Can Technology help democracy, for example with better voting technology, and Internet voting?

"Today, the Internet may look like a hacker convention. However, the challenges facing Internet Voting are actually fading away as privacy and security issues in Internet communications and voting protocols are, more and more, being clearly solved," says Ed Gerck, Ph.D., security expert and elected Chairman of the IVTA.

Public Sector Voting

Voting in the public sector using electronic devices and the Internet has advanced considerably since the IVTA was founded in 2000, largely due to the individual contributions of the companies and researchers who founded the IVTA.

As pioneers, we helped when the Internet started to be used for public sector voting, by providing an early and genuinely open forum for technical discussions by all of the stakeholders — including all the companies working in this space at the time — where participants could use an equal voice, much like the IETF model that helped create many of the Internet standards used today.

Voting: from Art to Science

The IVTA's purpose is to advance the science and technology of voting. From our Mission Statement, the primary goal of the IVTA is to ensure a high level of quality and integrity in the resources and information provided, in order to foster public confidence in Internet Voting. In keeping with established Internet traditions, the Alliance operates in an open and collaborative manner and favor consensus.

"We know that consensus usually take a long time to develop but Internet Voting technology has so many sociological, legal and political implications that we need to allow time to hear and respond to all sides," comments Gerck.

Hard Questions

The Digital Divide was one of the hard questions leveled against Internet voting when we started in 2000, with the fear that minority groups would be at a disadvantage if using computer terminals to vote (even not at home). Other hard questions included coercion, vote-selling, virus, hackers, denial-of-service, and other potential attacks on voter privacy, security, and process integrity when using the Internet for voting.

Several IVTA participants took the challenge to allay such concerns, while others have played the "devil's advocate" useful role in support of critical thinking. As we present in the "Hard Results" section below, these questions have been and are being successfully addressed also in terms of the operational context. For example, it is simpler to solve them when precinct voting is used with the Internet than when voters are allowed to use their own devices.

As another example, the Digital Divide question has been shown to be less statistically relevant, as the largest increases in Internet users in the U.S., for example, come from minority groups — while minority groups are seen to be largely disenfranchised by conventional voting. The Internet is becoming a truly democratic tool and has leveled the playing field to hundreds of millions, ordinary people, worldwide, debunking the fear of the "Digital Divide".

Hard Results

One of the results of the IVTA work, developed entirely online in open listserver dialogues, is the "Voting System Requirements", published in the The Bell, January 2001 (ISSN 1530-048X), and available online at http://thebell.net/archives/thebell2.2.pdf » [PDF]

Other IVTA discussions, provided by several IVTA participants and refining technical arguments on privacy and security in Internet as well as electronic voting, can also be recognized in published peer-reviewed articles and books »

Comments & Participation

We continue to find new opportunities for dialogue. Do you have suggestions for work areas or would like to help any other way? Please send your comments to the IVTA and make your voice heard in democratic, open, electronic voting discussions. To facilitate contact, IVTA is using the Support Ticket » service offered by ZSentry.

Thank you for participating!


The contents of this entire site are © Copyright, IVTA, 2000-2012. All rights reserved, worldwide. Titles are SM  of IVTA.
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