“severe vulnerabilities” that left the online platform
open to manipulation and attack.
For a 2015 report by the nonpro;t U.S. Vote
Foundation, Dr. Kiniry and his co-authors spent
two years interviewing and analyzing data from
election o;cials and university computer science
and e-voting experts. ;e big ;ndings: A gold-stan-dard internet voting system must meet four core
requirements: end-to-end veri;ability, transparency, usability and security. And no existing online
system guarantees voter privacy or the correct election outcomes.
“What’s so troubling about existing online voting
systems is that the security issues mean hackers
would be able to violate the system in a way no one
can trace,” Dr. Kiniry says.
Although additional steps are needed to make
internet voting more secure, no foolproof methods
exist yet, he says. Nonetheless, the question of
online voting seems to have shifted from “should
it happen” to “when will it happen,” says Dr.
Kiniry. “;e attitude in the security community has
changed from opposing any kind of online voting
to thinking this will be a reasonable—even wonderful—thing, once the right security is in place.”
The iVote system
used last year in
New South Wales,
Australia was open to
attack, experts say. While meeting security standards is the biggest challenge facing project leaders tasked with designing and implementing online voting systems, it’s not the only one. Election-day deadlines and complex requirements driven by country-speci;c regulations
also pose common hurdles. Here’s how teams work to overcome them from
kicko; meeting to project closure.
Challenge: Immovable Deadline
When it comes to the ultimate deadline facing
an internet voting project team, there’s no wiggle room: ;e election must happen on a certain
day (or days) by law. Full stop.
Plan: Phased Scheduling
and Backup Solutions
“;e election’s going to happen regardless of
whether you’re ready or not,” says Ian Brightwell, former CIO, New South Wales Electoral
Commission, Sydney, Australia.
Mr. Brightwell knows the pressure of the
immovable deadline ;rsthand: In 2011, his project team had just nine months and a budget of
more than US$2.5 million to build New South
Wales’ ;rst online voting platform for blind
residents. While the voting happened without
a hitch, the government subsequently decided
to redevelop the system entirely to incorporate
user feedback. For that project, which ;nished
with the March 2015 election, the team had a
larger budget (US$5 million) and more than
twice as much time (two years), yet the deadline
was as keenly felt as ever.
“Near the end, the infrastructure was running
late and we had problems in getting certain key
equipment from suppliers,” he says. “When we
;nally got it all in place and started testing, we
realized we had con;icts and had to make some
;e project plan initially called for the team
to internally manage certain logging features,
but just two days before the election, the team
modi;ed the plan and used an external supplier
for event logging.
finally got it
all in place
—Ian Brightwell, New
South Wales Electoral