The introduction of electronic voting (e-voting) in National Election Systems has recently received a significant interest in several countries (e.g. USA, Canada, UK, Portugal). The studies conducted until today clearly demonstrate that this type of system is perceived as having a high level of risk. As researchers in the complex systems, organization and software engineering fields, we are trying to analyze the problems associated to general e-voting systems, relating them with the system architecture and components, and finding new ways to deploy systems with reduced risk levels. This problem is a challenging one, since it will be necessary to identify the multiple dimensions that characterize e-voting systems and associated risks. These risks do not roll up from one specific research topic, but rather have a strong multidisciplinary nature.
This project does not aim at tackling one or two well-known issues, e.g. security, but leaving the whole problem unsolved. On the contrary, our perspective is that a whole new integrated architecture must be developed, one that is capable to tackle the intrinsic complex nature of e-voting systems. This new approach must be multidisciplinary, since problems with e-voting lay in different research areas, such as distributed systems, information security, HCI, software design or organizationware. This new approach must also be visionary, since most of the problems with e-voting are large-scale in several dimensions (users, components, requirements, risks). Our proposed solution will consist of an architectural framework with high-level components conceived for handling risk in e-voting systems.
The project will be organized according to three major areas of concern:
- Security-related risks
- Community-related risks
- Usefulness-related risks