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While online services emerge in all areas of life, the voting procedure in many democracies remains paper-based as the security of current online voting technology is highly disputed. We address the issue of trustworthy online voting protocols and recall therefore their security concepts with their trust assumptions. Inspired by the Bitcoin protocol, the prospects of distributed online voting protocols are analysed. No trusted authority is assumed to ensure ballot secrecy. Further, the integrity of the voting is enforced by all voters themselves and without a weakest link, the protocol becomes more robust. We introduce a taxonomy of notions of distribution in online voting protocols that we apply on selected online voting protocols. Accordingly, blockchain-based protocols seem to be promising for online voting due to their similarity with paper-based protocols. Eventually, we present our own approach on distributed online voting denoted ADVOKAT.
Robert Riemann is a visiting researcher at the HIIG. He carries out his doctoral studies in the area of online voting and develops therefore a dezentralised protocol that takes inspiration from BitTorrent and Bitcoin. In comparison to conventional online voting protocols, no complex cryptography and no central database is employed. As a result, new opportunities emerge for trust building and mitigation of attacks.”