Dutch experiment (FWD)

DEMOREP1 DEMOREP1 at aol.com
Tue May 5 12:32:07 PDT 1998

D comment- The below shows that paper ballots and simple X type plurality
elections are totally obsolete but, of course, linger on due to corrupt and
ignorant anti- democratic politicians.
Subj:   Dutch experiment with electronic voting using cryptography
Date:  Tue, May 5, 1998 1:56 PM EDT
From:  lorrie at research.att.com
X-From: lorrie at research.att.com (Lorrie Faith Cranor)
Sender: owner-e-lection at research.att.com
To: e-lection at research.att.com

[This is a really interesting electronic voting experiment -- 
the first one I know about that uses a cryptographic solution
and is open to anyone who wants to try it. I don't recommend
you try it unless you have at least a basic understanding of
the Dutch lanugage or want a good challenge! The Eurocrypt
papers that describe the algorithms are in English, however,
they do contain a lot of math. I will be interested to
hear from Berry how the experiment goes. --LFC]

From: Berry at digicash.com
Subject: An announcement for the Dutch voting experiment
Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 19:08:43 +0200 

An expirement with electronic voting using cryptography.

This week there is a Dutch website on the air that allows 
people to experiment with the concept of electronic voting
over the Internet. It is an initiative of several companies and
parties, among which are Cap Gemini, Compaq, NLsign, and
DigiCash. Although (we hope) it will not be that visible to the 
average user, the security technology that is being used is 

People who like to take part in the election have to apply for
a 'voting permit' which is implemented as a Class 1 user-certificate.
These certificates are issued by NLsign, where a manual check
is done somewhere along the process. There are hardly any 
constraints except that you need a proper email address (not
even limited to .nl addresses).

Once you have 'earned' your NLsign certificate (the complexity of doing
the right steps of acquiring the certificate is dependent on the 
version of your browser: newer browsers tend to work easier) you may then
cast your vote for the election of the Dutch parliament. Of course, the 
vote is not taken into account for the official tally. [After all, Holland
a democratic country; the current law doesn't even allow Internet

The actual voting is done by means of a Java applet, where the applet will
post the results within the same SSL session as the applet was downloaded.
The SSL session is only required for authentication though, the vote itself
is wrapped in a cryptographic ballot that hides the vote. 
The ballots are processed by a voting server which is written entirely in
Java as well.
The applet only uses Java 1.0.2 features that are supported by all Java
browsers, or any other platform that runs Java applets (like NCs etc). This 
guarantees a wide audience. 
For a background on the cryptographic protocols used by the voting system
the papers that my co-authors and I have presented at Eurocrypt'96 and
available from http://www.digicash.com/~berry/evote.html 
These protocols allow for a rather simple implementation, yet achieve a rich
set of
security properties, such as privacy, verifiability, and robustness.

By answering a few questions of a referendum-like style people have been
able to cast
a test vote. On Wednesday May 6, from 08:00 to 20:00 GMT+02:00 people may
then cast 
their shadow vote for the Dutch parliament. 
Foreigners may also take part in the experiment. The website is entirely in
Dutch though.
You first have to go to 'registeren', which will result in an email from
NLsign containing an URL
to the requested certificate. [If you're using MS Internet Explorer you have
to restart the
browser after downloading the NLsign site certificate.] 
Make sure to go through all of the steps. At the end you'll have three new
certificates in
your possession, namely the site certificate for NLsign, the Class 1 NLsign
and your Class 1 NLsign user-certificate. 

Then between the hours stated above you'll be able to cast your vote.
Shortly after 20:00 hrs
the final tally will be published on the website. [And this will be
celebrated with one of
the Dutch parties, http://www.D66.nl/ , whose ministers are supporting this

The voting site is at   

Good luck,
   Berry Schoenmakers

% Berry Schoenmakers, DigiCash bv, +31 20 5929999 
% Kruislaan 419, 1098 VA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
% berry at digicash.com, http://www.digicash.com/~berry

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