End-to-End Verifiable and Secret Online Elections at KIT

Project Description

KIT currently offers the possibility to conduct online polls. Thereby, conducting open votes, e.g., within video meetings of committees, is relatively easy. However, secret online votes and elections pose a disproportionately greater challenge – due to the opposing requirements which result from the secrecy of the ballot on the one hand side and the need for traceable correctness and election security on the other hand side. Therefore in 2021, the project „Introduction of Online Elections at KIT“ started at KIT, which examines the legal framework conditions, adjusts them, and looks at realization possibilities analogous to the approaches of other universities (usually, these are referred to as so-called black-box systems). For this matter, policy-regulatory and formal-organisational questions initially play a superordinate role. A forward-looking consideration of questions about traceable correctness of the election results – e.g., for being able to reveal manipulations – and thereby the creation of digital transparency for the voters demands in addition a further and deeper investigation.

The goal of this project is the design and the prototypical implementation of an online voting system for end-to-end verifiable, secret elections at KIT. The prototype will be employed for a KIT-wide straw poll. The aim is notably not to change the decision-making power, but to explain complex technical situations. Firstly, there is already a dynamic that evolves towards online elections at universities, presently however generally in the form of black-box systems for which strong security assumptions are made. The necessity for this project of considering end-to-end verifiable online voting systems is additionally reinforced by first court rulings which give a hint of a prospectively changed judicial valuation regarding the conduct, as well as by the appeal regarding transparency of the KIT student parliament („StuPa“) elections in 2020 and the fact that an end-to-end verifiable system shall be employed for the social insurance elections in 2023.



Name Title Phone Email Institution
Bernhard Beckert Prof. Dr. +49 721 608-44025 beckert1535888732Xfd4∂kit.edu KASTEL
Jörn Müller-Quade Prof. Dr. +49 721 608-44327 joern.mueller-quade2144119423Xfd4∂kit.edu KASTEL
Melanie Volkamer Prof. Dr. +49 721 608-45045 melanie.volkamer1714159474Xfd4∂kit.edu AIFB
Martin Nußbaumer Dr. +49 721 608-48073 martin.nussbaumer278660556Xfd4∂kit.edu SCC


Name Title Phone Email Institution
Michael Kirsten +49 721 608-45648 kirsten759889061Xfd4∂kit.edu KASTEL
Felix Dörre +49 721 608-46310 felix.doerre1701631769Xfd4∂kit.edu KASTEL
Ulrich Weiß +49 721 608-44868 weiss652882323Xfd4∂kit.edu SCC