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University of Surrey Wins Best System Design Award in International Electronic Voting Competition

The Pr?t ? Voter electronic voting team from the Universities of Surrey and Newcastle won the best system design category in the international Student Electronic Voting System Competition (VoComp) in July. In a tightly fought contest, Pr?t ? Voter only narrowly lost out in the overall competition with the Judges finally placing the system second.

The team, represented in Portland, Oregon by PhD student David Lundin and advisors Dr James Heather and Dr Roger Peel, all from the University of Surrey Computing Department, presented an implementation of the Pr?t ? Voter system, developed by the Surrey Electronic Voting Group in collaboration with Newcastle University. The system uses encryption to secure the votes, and posts them on a bulletin board for voters to verify.

David Lundin comments: "When you drop your ballot form in the box in today's elections you have to trust that it is correctly counted and does not go missing. We want to make it possible for you, and all other voters, to check that your votes were actually counted. This is called end-to-end verifiability and my bet is that this is the way we will safeguard democracy in the future."

The electronic voting research conducted at Surrey and other institutions around the world aims to create systems that not only are able to count millions of votes quickly but also makes elections truly verifiable.

"While electronic voting using touchscreens has been around for a long time, robust and verifiable systems built using security technology have only begun to emerge recently", says Professor Steve Schneider at the University of Surrey. "Our implementation is one of the first that can run a real election, and the only one that can handle single transferable voting as well as first past the post elections. Our system and the research behind it is cutting edge as demonstrated by this excellent result."



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