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E-voting systems: A tool for e-democracy

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Using electronic voting systems is divisive as some countries used such systems and others did not. Electronic voting (e-voting) is relatively a new concept based on its application that aims at reducing errors and improving the convenience and integrity of election process. This paper tried to explore the factors that influence the adoption of such systems in a university environment. The study utilized a sample of 302 bachelor degree students in a public Jordanian university and in relation to students’ council election process. Results indicated that students were keen on the concepts of trust and usefulness of e-voting when adopting such systems. The study supported the findings of TAM in the area of technology acceptance. Conclusions are at the end of this paper.
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Abu
-
Shanab
E., Knight M. and
Refai H.
E-VOTING SYSTEMS: A TOOL FOR E-DEMOCRACY
MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND PRACTICE Vol. 2 Issue 3 (2010) pp: 264-274
264
Management Research and Practice
Volume 2, Issue 3 / September 2010
eISSN
2067- 2462
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E-VOTING SYSTEMS: A TOOL FOR
E-DEMOCRACY
1
Emad ABU-SHANAB,
2
Michael KNIGHT and
3
Heba REFAI
1
Yarmouk University, abushanab@yu.edu.jo
2
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, knightm@uwgb.edu
3
Yarmouk University, Refai86@yahoo.com, Jordan
Abstract
Using electronic voting systems is divisive as some countries used such systems and others did not. Electronic voting
(e-voting) is relatively a new concept based on its application that aims at reducing errors and improving the
convenience and integrity of election process. This paper tried to explore the factors that influence the adoption of such
systems in a university environment. The study utilized a sample of 302 bachelor degree students in a public Jordanian
university and in relation to students’ council election process. Results indicated that students were keen on the
concepts of trust and usefulness of e-voting when adopting such systems. The study supported the findings of TAM in
the area of technology acceptance. Conclusions are at the end of this paper.
Keywords: E-government, e-democracy, e-voting, students’ elections.
1. INTRODUCTION
Yarmouk University (YU) is the second oldest university in Jordan and account for more than 30,000 students
in 11 colleges and 53 departments. The university conducts a yearly election of students’ council, where such
event is considered the most important and might lead to critical disputes based on political and social issues.
This study tried to explore how students will perceive electronic systems used in an election process and
what factors will influence such process. The study utilized the technology acceptance model (TAM) with
some extensions to it. Based on the literature e-voting refers to the use of computer or computerized voting
equipment to cast ballot in an election, this term sometimes is used more specifically to refer to voting that
takes place over the Internet (Storer and Duncan, 2004).
This study consist of five sections, the first two introduced the concept and reviewed the literature related to
e-voting. The third section proposed a model based on the adoption concept of technology. The forth section
reviewed the research method, and laid down the results. Finally, the sixth section discussed the findings and
concluded with implications and future work.
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2. LITERATURE REVIEW
"E-government is the use of information and communication technologies and the Internet to enhance the
accessibility to and delivery of all facets of government services and operations for the benefit of citizens,
businesses, employees and other stakeholders, is continuously transforming public services delivery system"
(Toe, Srivastava and LiJiang, 2008). On the other hand, e-democracy is defined as the use of the Internet
as a medium for democratically selecting political leaders, public policies, or both" (Johnson, 2006). E-
democracy has two main objectives; the first one is to provide citizens with the accessibility to information
and knowledge about the political process, services and choices available; and the second one is to make
possible the transition from passive information access to active citizen participation. The main characteristics
of e-democracy are dissemination of political information, e-voting and participation in e-decision making
(Bozinis and Lakovou, 2005). When identifying e-democracy within e-government categories, it fits most
under government-to-citizens (G2C) (Kitlan and Joseph, 2008; Bhatnagar, 2004).
2.1. E-voting
E-voting systems include three actors: voter, registration authorities and tallying authorities. Voters have the
right for voting, and registration authorities register eligible voters before the “election day”. These authorities
ensure that only registered voters can vote and they vote only once on the election’s day and tallying
authorities collect the cast votes and tally the results of the election. Tallying authorities may be counter,
collector and /or tallies (Cetinkaya and Cetinkaya, 2007).
The literature presents four categories of e-voting, depending on the level of security, privacy, and trust that
they maintain; these categories are e-commerce, trust authority, individually verifiable and universally
verifiable. In the first type there is no security except possibly on the communication channels. Ballot box
stuffing is tolerated, the voter's privacy is not maintained and vote tampering is not prevented. It is suitable for
Internet polling site. In trusted authority systems the election officials are trusted to maintain the integrity of
the election, voter privacy is some how maintained and vote tampering is prevented in these system. This
type of voting systems is suitable for small-scale voting, for which the election official can be trusted.
In individually verifiable systems conducting the e-voting process is secured, efficient and private elections
are possible, the disadvantage of this type is that the voter is responsible for insuring that his vote has been
accounted for in the final election tally, these systems are impractical for civic elections as no independent
observer can verify the elections.
In the last category of Internet voting, universally verifiable, anybody can verify the election without
compromising voter's privacy. Provision of this level of protection is difficult. These systems can only be used
for yes/no election due to contradictions among requirements (Kahani, 2005).
Abu
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E-voting system should also involve four phases: Voters register themselves to registration authorities and
the list of eligible voters is compiled before the election day, on the election day registered voters request
ballot or voting privilege from the registration authorities and the registration authorities check the credentials
of those attempting to vote and only allow those who are eligible and registered before. Voter casts his vote
and finally the tallying authorities count the votes and announce the election result (Cetinkaya and Cetinkaya,
2007).
2.2. Why Use E-voting
Election voting machines have provided a number of benefits to the election process. For example, direct
recording electronic machines can be equipped with audio or tactile devices that allow disable citizen to cast
ballot independently, they also help conduct election in more efficient and effective manner, like reducing the
cost associated with printing ballot and hiring extra polling staff. Voting machines can also spit out election
tallies much quicker and more accurately than exhausted polling station staff; they reduce human errors in
generating election result and also reduce the cost of conducting election. So the major benefits of e-voting
could be summarizing in the following points: reduced costs, increased participation and voting options,
greater speed and accuracy placing and tallying votes, greater accessibility and flexibility for the disable
(Data-monitor, 2008).
As we pinpointed few benefits of e-voting, some risks are associated with using and depending on electronic
systems. Programming errors can be very simple like adding semi-colon in the wrong place can completely
change a program. There are many risks experienced during the development stage of any system, product
delivery, maintenance between elections and the pre-and post-election intervals. The greatest threat
identified involves a person gaining access to a voting system and interring malicious code into the voting
system software. This malicious code could exploit vulnerabilities in the voting software to spread virally from
machine to machine causing voting machine to fail to record votes, failing to comply with legal requirement
and calculating vote totals in a way that is inconsistent with legal requirements.
Applying technology to solve one problem may introduce other problems. For example, E-voting systems are
introduced to eliminate paper and many other problems, but without a paper copy, the voters cannot check
that their votes are correctly recorded and cannot independently validate votes’ totals (Bishop and Wagner,
2007).
Electronic voting can be secure and confidential as paper-based voting. However, to work properly, such
systems must first incorporate seven design principles. The first is proven security; all protocols and
techniques must be mathematically proven secure. Second, trustworthy design responsibility; government
security agencies should be responsible for creating secure voting system. Third, source code; must be
Abu
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published and made publicly accessible. Forth, vote verification; it should be possible to verify that all votes
have been correctly accounted for in the final election tally. Fifth, voters’ accessibility; system should be
accessible to all and easy to use. Sixth, ensure anonymization: techniques like onion routing must be used to
ensure anonymization. And finally, expert oversight; team of experts selected and approved by all major
parties taking part in election (Gerlach, 2009).
2.3. E-voting experiences around the world
The State of California allows e-voting machines to be used only under strict conditions. Polling stations won't
be able to have more than one of those systems in place, and county registrars will have to take steps such
as reinstalling the software and firmware for the devices and resetting them encryption key. E-voting systems
were used by one quarter to one-third of California voters in November elections year 2006. But during state-
sponsored review of the machines and their source code, a team of penetration tester found 15 security
problems, including the ability to exploit flaws in windows (Klossner, 2007; Towns, 2008).
In the case of Florida State, the Florida legislature passed a bill that would require all voting districts in the
state to replace most touch-screen voting systems with optical scan devices. The bill estimates the cost of
replacing the touch-screen systems at $18.5 million (Songini, 2007). In America's voting systems shift from
lever machines and hand-counted paper to optical scanners and touch screens with printed voter-verified
paper audit trails and the system served an estimated 133 million voters on Nov.4 (Seligson, 2008).
On the other hand, and in the European Union countries, e-voting was introduced as a part of the federal and
provincial elections in Belgium in November 1991, when two cantons were selected for an experiment in e-
voting. Through a law of 11 April 1994, this experiment was broadened and institutionalized to 20% of all
voting areas and since 1999, 44% of all voting is registered electronically to attain 100% by 2006 elections.
The main objectives of Belgium government from shift to e-voting system are difficult to manage and control
manual voting, reduced the costs, announce the result earlier and make the result more accurate (Towns,
2008; Vuyst and Fairchild, 2005).
2.4. Students’ council elections cases
Cases of student council elections using e-voting system: In Brazil, the student council elections project was
developed in a public school located in Serra azul, and it includes the electronic voting system, developed
and used by the student and Some. Also, Cleveland high schools are choosing their student council leaders
using e-voting machine (Ramos, 2006).
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2.5. Students’ council elections at Yarmouk University
Normally, the elections of students’ council at any university and anywhere in the world, doesn’t elicit much
attention. In Jordan, the issue is different, as it is used as a yardstick to measure present and future trends of
the Jordanian kingdom. Also, there is great emphasis on prestigious image of the position within the
university society more than public service for the community.
A student candidate in Yarmouk University must have the following conditions (www.yu.edu.jo): he/she
should have an accumulated average not less than 60%, must have at least a 12 credit hour load through the
semester (a full time student), must not have less than 36 credit hour to graduate from the university, and did
not have any warnings or punishments during his/her study at the university.
In the year 2009, a large fight broke out at Yarmouk University between students. This resulted in physical
damages to windows, cars and buildings on campus, as well as some injury of people, including a security
guards, the reason cited for the fight was students elections (Alrai Newspaper, 2009).
The objectives of the students’ council election can be summarized in the following points (Rawashda, 2009):
1. Represent all students in the department and act as a voice for the interests, opinions, and concerns
of that student body of the department.
2. Act as an intermediary between students and the faculty and administration in the department.
3. Represent the student body in faculty and staff committees and meetings.
Student council election process: In order to vote, a student must be listed in the enrollment services office.
Voters must sign the student print-out. Election administrator then highlights each voter’s name as he/she
votes. Once a name has been highlighted and signed, the student may not vote again. Voter is given
numbered election ballot. Voting will be by secret ballot. Voter fills out ballot (inside the polling booth) and
places his/ her ballot inside the ballot box. (Rawashda, 2009).
3. THE ADOPTION PROCESS OF E-VOTING
One of the major issues in e-voting is the proper authentication of the voters and ensuring voters that the
electronic election would address accuracy, privacy, verifiability and security issues requirement
appropriately. In this paper we try to prove that e-voting system has some inherent advantages over paper
based voting including a substantial decrease in voting errors. E-voting makes it possible to accommodate
people with different disabilities, helping them vote without human assistance. In political environments, users
need to be convinced that e-voting is robust, secured and safe. The experiences in different countries of the
world and the literature reviewed showed that using information technology for different applications can
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result in convenience, accuracy, time and cost savings. Thus, beside the major constructs proposed by TAM,
this paper extended the model to the one shown in Figure 1, where it is hypothesized that the Intention to use
e-voting systems will be influenced mainly by five predictors.
Research question: What are the major predictors of adopting e-voting systems?
Research hypotheses:
H1: Perceived usefulness will have a positive influence on intention to use e-voting systems.
H2: Perceived ease of use will have a positive influence on intention to use e-voting systems.
H3: Trust propensity will have a positive influence on intention to use e-voting systems.
H4: Perceived security will have a positive influence on intention to use e-voting systems.
H5: Perceived privacy will have a positive influence on intention to use e-voting systems.
In this study perceived security and perceived privacy are defined as to what extent the system is secured
and private. On the other hand, Perceived usefulness is defined as to what extent the system is useful to the
purposes of the user, and perceived ease of use as to the extent that the system is easy to use. Finally, trust
propensity is defined as the extent to which the user can trust the system. This study used intention to use as
a surrogate to usage for practical reasons and convenience of research application.
Perceived
Usefulness
Perceived
Ease of Use
Perceived
security
Intention to use
Trust
propensity
Perceived
Security
FIGURE 1 - THE RESEARCH MODEL
4. RESEARCH METHOD
This study used an empirical test to explore the set of hypotheses and answer the research
questions. A survey was built to explore different aspects of students’ acceptance of e-voting
systems depending mainly on a 5 point Likert scale, with 1 indicating “strongly disagree” and 5
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indicating strongly agree”. The sections visited were selected randomly among various colleges of
Yarmouk University (YU) to diversify the sample and, majorly, based on instructor’s cooperation and
willingness to administer the survey in his class. One of the researchers visited 13 sections and only
6 sections approved the administration of the survey. The survey took on average 15 minutes and
few minutes to talk about the research and introduce the project.
The questionnaire is divided into two main parts: 1) the demographic information which contains (3)
questions. 2) Questions about students acceptance to implement e-voting systems in students
council election in Yarmouk university which contains (23) questions. The survey contained no
questions that identify student’s identity. Table 1 contains a summary of the demographic data
collected. The total size of the sample was 302, were 320 surveys were distributed and 18 were
excluded because of missing data size.
TABLE 1 - DEMOGRAPHIC DATA OF THE SAMPLE
Age Total Percentage
< 20 90 29.80%
20 74 24.50%
College Total Percentage
21 86 28.50%
Economics & Business Administration 65 21.50%
> 21 52 17.20%
Information Technology 79 26.20%
Total 302 100%
Islamic Studies 52 17.20%
Gender Total Percentage
Education 94 31.10%
Male 77 25.50%
Other 12 4.00%
Female 225 74.50%
Total 302 100%
Total 302 100%
The questionnaire measured students’ acceptance of e-voting systems using 6 constructs mainly adapted
from the technology acceptance model (TAM). The variables were: intention to use (ITU), perceived ease of
use (PEoU), perceived usefulness (PU), trust propensity (TP), perceived privacy (PP) and perceived security
(PS). This research used ITU as a surrogate for usage of e-voting systems and as a dependent variable in
the research model (Davis, 1989). The other five constructs were hypothesized to predict ITU and considered
as independent variables in the research model.
The sample used in this study indicated that YU students knew about e-voting (194 students responded by
YES when asked about e-voting systems, 64.2% of total sample). One the other hand, 35.8% (108 students)
indicated that they never heard about e-voting systems.
The second part of questionnaire use items extracted from previous research to explore the TAM and the
extension of the model. The items used for ITU, PU, PEoU are all from the original TAM (Davis, 1989; Davis,
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Bagozzi and Warshaw,1989), but translated to Arabic and used in the survey. On the other hand, Trust items
were adopted from the work of Pavlou (2003) and AbuShanab (2005). Finally, the items used for perceived
security and perceived privacy were added by the authors based on their readings of the literature and the
importance of such constructs. The e-government literature lacks such availability of instruments and
empirical testing might be a rarity.
Results of reliability analysis of the scale used indicated good levels of internal consistency with respect to
ITU, PU, PEoU and TP (0.822, 0.675, 0.799 & 0.792 respectively). On the other hand, the value of
Cronbach’s alpha was low in regards to PP and PS (0.583 & 0.484 respectively). Table 2 lists the values of
the scales and their related items used with the sample size indicated.
TABLE 2 - CRONBACHS ALPHA FOR THE USED VARIABLES
Variable Names N
Number of
items used
Cronbach's Alpha
Intention to Use 302 3 0.822
Perceived usefulness 302 5 0.675
Perceived Ease of Use 302 5 0.799
Trust 302 4 0.792
Security 302 3 0.484
Privacy 302 3 0.583
The research question under consideration can be answered by simply exploring the relations between each
of the variables and ITU. First we conducted a Pearson correlation tests between each one of the variables
and ITU, such test indicates the relationship between them in isolation of the collective competition on the
variance. The results are shown in the correlation matrix in Table 3. All correlations were significant at the
0.01 level, which indicates the importance of each in predicting students’ adoption expectations with respect
to e-voting systems. The table also shows the means of each variable. We can see that all variables
indicated high levels according to social sciences literature (1-2.5 as low, 2.5-3.5 as moderate, and 3.5-5 as
high). The least was slightly below the high level category (Trust with a mean equal to 3.445), and the highest
was perceived usefulness with a mean equal to 4.065.
We tried to replicate the TAM and entered only PU and PEoU in the first model, with ITU as the dependent
variable. The results indicated a significant model at the 0.001 level with an F
2,299
= 38.004. The coefficient of
determination R
2
= 0.203, which is less than what the original TAM yielded (R
2
= 0.36). On the other hand,
both predictors were significant in predicting ITU at the 0.001 level for PU, and at the 0.01 level for PEoU.
Table 4 show the coefficient table of the regression analysis.
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TABLE 3: MEANS OF VARIABLES AND THE CORRELATION MATRIX
ITU PU PEoU T S P
Intention to Use 3.759 1
Perceived usefulness 4.065 0.417** 1
Perceived Ease of Use 3.782 0.349** 0.482** 1
Trust 3.445 0.526** 0.306** 0.289** 1
Security 3.639 0.316** 0.387** 0.335** 0.402** 1
Privacy 3.796 0.397** 0.419** 0.319** 0.493** 0.487** 1
Mean
Correlation Matrix
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
Variable Names
TABLE 4 - REGRESSION COEFFICIENTS FOR REPLICATING THE TAM
Unstandardized Coefficients
Model Items
B Std. Error
Standardized
Beta
t Sig.
Constant
0.831 0.340
2.443 0.015
Perceived usefulness
0.490 0.089 0.324 5.500 0.000
Perceived Ease of Use
0.248 0.076 0.193 3.272 0.001
Dependent Variable: ITU
TABLE 5 - COEFFICIENT TABLE OF THE REGRESSION MODEL
Unstandardized Coefficients
Model Items
B Std. Error
Standardized
Beta
t Sig.
Constant 0.043 0.325
0.131 0.896
Perceived usefulness 0.318 0.086 0.211 3.722 0.000
Perceived Ease of Use 0.140 0.070 0.109 1.999 0.046
Security 0.003 0.067 0.003 0.047 0.963
Privacy 0.095 0.070 0.081 1.370 0.172
Trust 0.442 0.062 0.39 7.090 0.000
Dependent Variable: ITU
When competing on the variance not all variable will survive significance, and that is a result of competing on
the same variance. It is more economical to use fewer variables to predict a dependent variable and this is
one of the parsimonious aspects of the TAM. This study entered all variables at one time into this competition
and resulted in a new set of variables that best predict ITU. Multiple regression was used to test the
hypotheses mentioned and to see which variables will predict ITU. Results indicated that only perceived
usefulness and trust propensity were significantly related to ITU at the 0,001 level. Also, PEoU was significant
at the 0.05 level. On the other hand, PS and PP were both not significant in predicting the dependent
variable. Results are shown in Table 5 below. Finally, as a model, the performance was better than the
original TAM, were the predictors indicated a high value of coefficient of determination (R
2
= 0.364, with an
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F
5,295
value = 33.863, p < 0.001). This value is considered slightly higher than the value resulted in the
original TAM (36%).
5. DISCUSSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
This study aimed at exploring the factors influencing the adoption process of Yarmouk University students of
e-voting systems. The results indicated a full support of the original TAM, where perceived usefulness and
perceived ease of use significantly predicted ITU. On the other hand, and improvement in the explanation of
variance was achieved as the new proposed model extended the TAM with a new construct (trust propensity)
and improved the variance from 20.3% (compatible to original TAM) to 36.4%. This result is important as the
researchers used an Arabic instrument, where language might be a factor influencing the responses of
subjects. Also, the instrument used can be improved when retested through other environments and
technologies.
Regarding the hypotheses stated in section 3, the following table represents a summary of the results.
TABLE 6 - HYPOTHESES RESULTS
Hypothesis Standardized Beta t Sig. Result
H1: Perceived usefulness influence 0.211 3.722 0.000
Supported
H2: Perceived Ease of Use influence 0.109 1.999 0.046
Supported
H3: Trust propensity influence 0.39 7.090 0.000
Not Supported
H4: Perceived Security influence 0.003 0.047 0.963
Supported
H5: Perceived Privacy Influence 0.081 1.370 0.172
Not Supported
Dependent Variable: ITU
The explanation of variance was attributed to three variables: PU (Std. Beta = 0.211), PEoU (Std. Beta =
0.109) and TP (Std. Beta = 0.390). Such results indicate the importance of trust as a predictor of ITU.
Yarmouk University students showed that their trust in e-voting systems is a major predictor of their
acceptance.
This study suffered from one major limitation, which is the language issue that reduced the effect of two
hypothesized predictors (PP & PS). The results imply for more research regarding the two variables, and to
improve the reliability of the two scales used. One can infer that the number of items and the low consistency
and reliability of scales were major deficiencies (both were the lowest among the six variables). Future work
is needed to improve the instrument and test the new variables again. Also, to explore other factors related to
e-voting system acceptance.
This research implies that usefulness and ease of use are still important to decision makers when
implementing e-voting systems, but this research indicated that building trust is important.
Abu
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E., Knight M. and
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MANAGEMENT RESEARCH AND PRACTICE Vol. 2 Issue 3 (2010) pp: 264-274
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... E-voting is the most vital components of e-democracy covering actual research areas such as voting mechanisms, provision of security and legitimacy, technological solutions for e-voting and their efficient use. In a complex approach, e-voting is referred to an important part of e-elections [1][2][3]. ...
... As a new concept, the implementation of e-voting is based on reducing errors during election processes and focus on maintaining the integrity of election process in general. In literature, e-voting is defined as a use of computers and devices offered by computers in election process, and this term is adopted to characterize elections carried out via the Internet more precisely [1]. E-government system allows enhancing the accessibility of all government services and operations in accordance with the interests of citizens, organizations, employees and other interested parties, and maintaining accessibility for everyone and fostering the efficiency by transforming the system of regular provision of public services. ...
... E-government system allows enhancing the accessibility of all government services and operations in accordance with the interests of citizens, organizations, employees and other interested parties, and maintaining accessibility for everyone and fostering the efficiency by transforming the system of regular provision of public services. On the other hand, e-democracy is defined as "the use of the Internet as a tool for the democratic election of political leaders and government policies" [1]. The main characteristics of e-democracy are considered as the expansion of political information, e-voting and the participation in e-decision making. ...
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... According to Abu-Shanab et al (2010), the tallying authorities collect the cast votes and tally the results of the election. The tallying server receives the ballots from the voting terminal, processes and collates the votes. ...
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This work discusses electronic voting for the Nigerian electoral system, modeling a two-level hierarchical architecture that includes the national and state level infrastructure. This solves most of the electoral challenge in the country. The system proposed is a form of Public Network Direct Recording Electronic Voting System (PNDRE Voting System) that run on a Virtual Private Network (VPN) implemented on the existing General System for Mobile (GSM) communication network infrastructure. It makes use of asymmetric cryptography, with the preferred protocol being RSA algorithm running on a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) that enables the various communicating units of the system to be authenticated for information exchange; making it impossible for attackers to break into the system. Smartcards are used as voter accreditation tokens, with every prospective voter having to first register by supplying their biological and voting information to the Voter Information Database. This allows very good mobility and flexibility on the system, as voters can register and cast their votes at different polling stations other than where they were registered. The system is proposed with the good ergonomics, allowing even non ICT compliant persons to use it efficiently.
... e-Voting system has some inherent advantages over paper based voting in that beside being robust, secured and safe, it decreases voting errors substantially. Abu-Shanab, Knight and Refai (2010) conformed that using evoting improve the convenience, efficiency and effectiveness of the election process; reduces cost of organizing election, increased participation and provide alternative option as it improve integrity of election process in general. Limitations associated to accuracy, security and verifiability inherent in the conventional paper based methods makes e-voting system an appealing option. ...
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... e-Voting system has some inherent advantages over paper based voting in that beside being robust, secured and safe, it decreases voting errors substantially. Abu-Shanab, Knight and Refai (2010) conformed that using evoting improve the convenience, efficiency and effectiveness of the election process; reduces cost of organizing election, increased participation and provide alternative option as it improve integrity of election process in general. Limitations associated to accuracy, security and verifiability inherent in the conventional paper based methods makes e-voting system an appealing option. ...
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In this chapter, the author disentangles the puzzle of e-Government development in Switzerland. The picture of e-Government introduction is painted by situating the use of information and communication technologies in its institutional, organisational and political contexts. The author shows that the Swiss case study provides valuable lessons and practical implications for public organisations wishing to develop e-Government functionalities. The influential factors are divided between those having an impact on the digitalisation of public services and of democratic practices. The examples of specific projects, such as open data and e-Voting, illustrate the interplay of different logics that need to be taken into consideration when introducing e-Government projects.
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Chapter
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Chapter
Information systems (IS) play an important role in contemporary society, but critical questions remain on their impact on democracy. This study aims to contribute to a better understanding of this phenomenon. In order to do so, the study develops an innovative methodological approach. Drawing from Design Science Research (DSR), we build conceptual pairs between core preoccupations explored by critical thought on democracy and available problem-solving information technologies. The study does not aim at an exhaustive analysis of problems and solutions; this would be unfeasible, considering the limitations of journal article format. Rather, it aims at early-stage methodology incorporation across disciplines that draw from different research paradigms. The findings will offer a preliminary probe on the analytical input of DSR conceptual artefacts in examining functional links between information systems and political outcomes.
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Electronic democracy (e-democracy) is a necessity in this era of computers and information technology. Electronic election (e-election) is one of the most important applications of e-democracy, because of the importance of the voters' privacy and the possibility of frauds. Electronic voting (e-voting) is the most significant part of e-election, which refers to the use of computers or computerised voting equipment to cast ballots in an election. Due to the rapid growth of computer technologies and advances in cryptographic techniques, e-voting is now an applicable alternative for many non-governmental elections. However, security demands become higher when voting takes place in the political arena. Requirement analysis is an important part of the system design process and it is impossible to develop the right system in the right way without a correct and complete set of requirements. In this manner all e-voting studies mention e-voting requirements somewhere, and different sets of requirements are defined. Almost all researchers state verifiability as an e-voting requirement by narrowing the definition of verification. Unfortunately the definitions for verifiability are inadequate and unclear and it is categorised as individual verifiability and universal verifiability, where they are generally misused in the literature. Nowadays the researchers have started to discuss deeply the verification in e-voting. However there is no obvious consensus about the definitions. Moreover, validation has not been discussed properly yet. This paper focuses on the importance of the verification and validation (V&V) in e-voting and gives proper definitions for verifiability and validity. Then it describes some V&V activities and explains the relationship between V&V and core requirements that any e-voting system should satisfy. This paper also states some problems for designing and developing secure e-voting systems.
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Electronic voting is a relatively new application of information technology. Many governments are investigating how e-voting can be deployed as part of their e-government initiatives. In this article, the requirements of e-voting systems are described and experiences of achieving e-voting on a small scale in Iran are discussed. 1 INTRODUCTION The emergence of the World Wide Web in the last decade of the previous century has had enormous effects on our lifestyles. Seen as a disruptive technology, the Internet has spread into nearly all parts of the world, and everyday new applications emerge. This trend is transforming societies into e-societies, as applications such as e-business, e-learning, e-healthcare, and e-government, etc have already been substantially deployed in many developed countries. e-Democracy refers to the use of information technology (IT) for balloting. The gradual decline in the number of voters in elections and the desire of many developed country governments' to use an electronic voting system by 2006 has resulted in many researches being conducted to consider the perceived barriers to the implementation of electronic voting (MORI, 2005). However, there are many other issues when considering IT applications in developing countries. The lack of proper infrastructure, low information literacy rate, low Internet penetration ratio and lack of skilled persons are among the most important barriers. Therefore, before considering major IT projects, such as e-voting, pilot, small-scale projects should be undertaken to ensure that the e-voting system is feasible. In this article, the use of electronic voting on a small scale in Iran is investigated. After reviewing the background literature on e-voting systems, two experiences of organizing e-ballots are described. The first experience relates to the use of e-voting to elect the student scientific committees in Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (FUM), Iran. In the second experience, however, the use of e-voting for election of the high council of a prestigious and important non-government organization, the Construction Engineering Disciplinary Organization (CEDO), is described. Finally, the lessons learned from achieving these experiences are discussed and conclusions about the future deployment of e-voting systems in Iran, as well as in developing countries more generally, are drawn.
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The paper describes the introduction of experimental systems of electronic voting registration in Belgium, one of the first European countries (along with The Netherlands) to venture in this direction. The 1991 introduction of electronic voting registration has still not resulted in any form of electronic distance voting. Examination of criticism of the automatisation of voter registration focuses on a perceived lack of attainment of policy objectives of manpower and cost reduction, speed and accuracy; yet despite this criticism, there is no debate on electronic voting registration, unlike in the U.S. 1. Background Belgium is, with the Netherlands, one of the front-runners of electronic voting registration. Belgium is also an oddball in Europe and beyond in that it obliges its citizens to vote: fines and jail terms are reserved, and occasionally meted out, to those who refuse or neglect to turn up on voting day. Still, 9.4 percent of the population does not vote (Cybervote, 2003). Belgian election law is detailed, traditional and rigid on voting procedure. This rigidity in voting procedure has continued with electronic voting registration, as in 1998 it was deemed necessary for experts to survey the use and functioning of automated voting systems to determine and control the reliability of both the machines and the software.
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Efforts to create e-democracy do not necessarily enhance liberal democratic politics, tending instead toward illiberal polities because of the underlying technological culture of e-democracy. Technologies are not value-neutral artifacts but rather social practices in which values and meanings are central elements. The complex of values and meanings creates a culture to each technology that is implemented along with that technology. Implementing a technology thus moves society in the direction of the underlying culture of the technology. Electronic liberal democracy cannot be constructed by simply adapting Internet-based technologies as is because the underlying culture of those technologies, when implemented in specifically political practices, runs counter to the principles of liberal democracy. Three aspects of that culture in particular-that the Internet is a commodity, that direct democracy is the most preferable form of democracy, and that the Internet is an individualized public forumshape the culture of e-democracy in ways that undermine key practices of liberal democracy such as representation and constitutionalism, social equality, and the autonomy of civil society.