Technology, Trust and Elections

Technology, Trust and Elections

An interim report from the One Vote Project

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay





One Vote Report Chapter 3 : Future Risks

Submitted Nov 17, 2021

Future Risks

It is necessary to understand that systems by the very nature of their design will contain a set of risks. Deployment of such systems is based, in theory, on an evaluation of the risk i.e. the actual impact of the event along with the chances of that event occurring. It is becoming increasingly obvious that contests such as elections which are an integral part of the democratic process do not only have local malicious actors. Due to the short and long term consequences of the results of an election, various external State and non-State actors might also be engaged in adversarial attacks on the systems included in the elections, specifically, systems which are part of the voting process.

Thus, it is necessary to raise awareness and build enough knowledge about infrastructure and warn citizens about supply chain issues which create threats to election security.

These include the origin of manufacture for hardware components to the software being used in the election process itself. In a way, this highlights the necessity of election officers and stakeholders being adequately resourced to identify and invoke standard operating procedures against a hostile actor.

These topics become more complicated by the somewhat distinct disciplines of Information Technology and Information Security. Nonetheless, the looming nature of this kind of threat is important to view against the requirement of expert engagement and deliberations. It cannot be overemphasized that officials engaged in the elections need training and access to experts who can help assess the consequences of the choices made in technology and systems design. Additionally, there is a need to train all participants to be more focused on security - especially security of systems which are part of the operations of an election.


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One Vote is an initiative to examine a diverse set of inputs and perspectives regarding the introduction and evolution of technology as part of the elections. We use public discourse, deliberations and reports to raise awareness about this topic for a lay audience. One Vote is designed to enable cr… more