LITERATURE REVIEW FOR ONLINE VOTING SYSTEM

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This chapter documents the available relevant literature concerning the problem domain. The implication was that the researcher devoted sufficient time to reviewing research already undertaken on related problems. This was done to find out what data and other materials are already available from earlier research, and identify gaps that the present research may fill.

        Election

Election is the process that gives the citizens the rights to select candidates to represent them in a democratic pattern. Election deals with the democracy and freewill of citizens, for this reason voting process is considered to be very critical and sensitive process, therefore election implementation must serve many requirements in order to deliver a trustworthy election. These requirements can be defined as user conventions requirements and delivery of secure voting process requirements. [6]

Due to the fast development of network technology the world is going toward the use and implementation of the e-technology in every aspect of our life including e-governments. Online voting becomes one of these technologies. Online voting refers to the use of hardware and software to establish an electronic system, useful in voting process, by generating an electronic ballot that replaces the paper ballot. E-voting was introduced by e-governments especially in Europe in order to serve voting convention by providing remote system so the voter can cast his/her vote whenever and wherever he/she can. These systems will increase voter’s participation and will speed up the votes counting. Introducing remote voting technique over the internet (e-voting) will serve voter’s convention. The main idea of this technology is to speed up the ballot counting and increase voters’ participation by providing remote voting process and social interaction platforms.

 

 

 

        Types of Voting

Voting is a process at the heart of a democratic society. There is a wide variety of different voting systems that are based on traditional paper ballots, mechanical devices, or electronic ballots. [2]

        Paper Ballots

Hand written paper ballots were first used in Rome in 139 BCE, and their first use in America was in 1629, to select a pastor for the Salem church. These early paper ballots offered only modest voter privacy and they were fairly easy targets for various forms of election fraud. The modern system of election using paper ballots was first used in 1858 in Australia. The great Australian innovation was to print standardized ballots at government expense, distribute them to the voters at the polling places, and require that the voters vote and return the ballots immediately. Today, the security against election fraud this provides seems obvious, but in the 19th century, it was not obvious to most observers, and it was not until 1888 that this ballot was used in the United States. A properly administered Australian paper ballot sets a very high standard, assuring voter privacy, preventing voters from revealing how they voted, and assuring an accurate and impartial count.

        Lever Voting Machines

Lever voting machines were first used in 1892 in New York, and were slowly adopted across the country. They completely eliminate most of the approaches to manipulating the vote count that were endemic a century ago, and they can easily be configured to handle a complex general election ballot. Lever voting machines offer excellent voter privacy, and the feel of a lever voting machine is immensely reassuring to voters! Unfortunately, they are immense machines, expensive to move and store, difficult to test, complex to maintain, and far from secure against vote fraud. Furthermore, a lever voting machine maintains no audit trail. With paper ballots, it is possible to recount the votes if there is an allegation of fraud. With lever voting machines, there is nothing to recount! In effect, lever voting machines were the “quick technological fix” for the problems of a century ago; they eliminated the problems people understood while they introduced new problems. Because they are expensive to test, complete tests are extremely rare. The mechanism is secure against tampering by the public, but a technician can easily fix a machine so that one voting position will never register more than some set number of votes, and this may not be detected for years.

        Punched Cards

The first new technology to effectively challenge lever voting machines was the now infamous Votomatic voting machine. Punched card data processing dates back to the 1890’s, but IBM did not introduce the Votomatic punched card voting system until 1964. The Votomatic ballot and the more recent mark-sense ballot both represent a return to the Australian secret ballot, but with the added benefit of automated and impartial vote count produced using tabulating machinery. With this return to paper ballots, we gained the ability to recount the vote in the event there is a challenge, but we also introduce the question of how to interpret marginal votes. From a legal perspective, a ballot is an instrument, just like a deed or a check. When the ballot is deposited in the ballot box, it becomes anonymous, but just prior to the moment when the ballot is deposited, it ought to be possible to hand the ballot to the voter and ask “does this ballot properly represent your intent?”. Votomatic punched card ballots fail this simple test! While the ballot is in the Votomatic machine, the voter can punch holes in it but is unable to see the ballot itself. Once removed from the machine, the voter can see the holes, but without the ballot labels printed on the machine, the voter is unable to tell what those holes mean.

 

        Optical Mark Sense Ballots

Optical mark-sense voting systems were developed in the early 1970’s by American Information Systems of Omaha, alternately in competition with and in cooperation with Westinghouse Learning Systems of Iowa City. The latter was the licensee of the University of Iowa’s patents on the optical mark-sense scanning machine. Essentially the only advantage of mark-sense technology over punched card technology is that it uses marks on a printed paper ballot. This is an important advantage! This means that no special machines are required to vote on the ballot, it means that, with proper ballot design, a voter can easily verify that the markings on the ballot exactly convey his or her intent, and it means that, during a hand recount, no special expertise is required to interpret the intent of the voters. Unfortunately, the first generation of optical mark-sense voting machines was extremely sensitive to the particular type of pen or pencil used to mark the ballot, and to the exact details of the mark itself. As a result, early machines, including many still in use today, had real difficulty distinguishing faint deliberate marks from smudged erasures, and they tended to have mark sensing thresholds that required a fairly dark mark. The newest generation of optical mark-sense readers uses visible wavelength image processing technology instead of simple infrared sensors to read the marks. Many of the more recent offerings use either FAX machine scanning mechanisms or computer page-scanning devices to obtain the image of the ballot, and they operate by finding each marking target before they search the target for acceptable marks. Such machines can easily ignore relatively dark smudged erasures while catching relatively faint deliberate marks.

        Direct Recording Electronic Voting Systems

The newest voting technology uses direct-recording electronic voting machines. These were developed after microcomputers became sufficiently inexpensive that they could be incorporated into a voting machine. The first of these was developed by Shoup in 1978; The Shoup Voting Machine Company was one of the two companies that had been making lever voting machines for much of the century. Their new electronic voting machine was built to have the “look and feel” of a lever voting machine, thereby minimizing the voter education problems that always accompany changes in voting technology. Much of the rhetoric today about voting system reform asks why we can’t have voting machines that are as ubiquitous and convenient as automatic teller machines. This turn of phrase is a reference to the newest generation of direct-recording voting machines; these make no attempt to emulate earlier technology; physically, they are little more than repackaged personal computers with touch screen input and special software to make them function as voting systems. All of today’s direct-recording voting machines attempt to offer far stronger audit and security tools than the old lever machines they functionally replace. Instead of simply storing vote totals on odometer wheels inside the machine, they store an electronic record called a ballot image recording each voter’s choices, and they store an audit trail of all actions involving the machine, from pre-election testing to the printing of vote totals after the polls close. These records are stored in duplicate form, for example, in a hard drive in the machine as well as in a removable memory pack of some kind or on an adding machine tape inside the machine. Should any disaster strike or should a recount be requested, it should be possible to recover all votes that have been cast on such a machine. Unlike any system resting on paper ballots, none of the information stored inside a direct recording electronic voting machine can be said to have the status of a legal instrument. Instead, the record is created by the software within the voting machine in response to the voter’s actions, and the record is only as trustworthy as the software itself. It is far from easy to test and inspect software to assure that it functions as advertised, and it is far from easy to assure that the software resident in a machine today is the same software that was authorized for use in that machine months or years ago.

 

        Electronic Voting

This is a voting system where the recording, casting and counting of votes involves information and communication technology. [5] The main principle of e-voting system is the replica of the regular voting system as much as possible it is compliant with the election legislation and principles and be at least secure as the regular voting. In a nutshell, e-voting strives to be uniform and secret, only eligible persons are to be allowed to e-vote and a voter should only cast one vote and the collections are to be secure, reliable and accountable. [1] This system gives loopholes to election theft and manipulation of votes especially during the collection of votes. The proposed research works on filling this gap. The process of this system is ambiguous in a manner that a voter has to register and keep confirming whether his/her details are in the system and on the voting day, voters have to cast their votes in the ballot. It is proved to be challenging for the system to accommodate the disabled and multilingual voters hence it is also time consuming. for the evoting system to function properly, it should ensure error-free and robust electronic voting over the internet which has been a difficult for this system hence it could not be implemented in most of the institutions worldwide including Strathmore University in Kenya. [3]

        Online Voting

This is just like electronic voting but only that it is web based system. In this paper a new easy to use, secure and transparent online voting system is proposed. The new scheme can be easily used by colleges and universities worldwide. The new scheme most notable allows voters to interact, participate in campaigns and political rallies virtually by use of a web based system.

        Identified Gaps

  1. lack of transparency in the election systems
  2. lack of robust and error-free systems for election process
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