Complete verifiability and open source in Swiss Post’s future e-voting system

Complete verifiability and open source in Swiss Post’s future e-voting system 25.11.2021

At the third expert webinar for Swiss Post’s e-voting community, participants were given an insight into the approach of transparent software development. In a live demo, they were able to follow how the verification software developed by Swiss Post uncovers irregularities in electronic ballots. Finally, the well-known open source advocate Christian Folini shared his opinion on the topic of open source and e-voting.

Swiss Post continues to work on its future e-voting system. Between the beginning of 2021 and the middle of November 2021, it published all the essential parts of the system for experts to examine and test. Interested parties can consult the specialist platform GitLab to see what work Swiss Post is still doing on the system. Changes in the components are marked as corrections in the “changelogTarget not accessible” and in the “readme” and are easily recognizable. In addition to these releases, Swiss Post also publishes further developments as increments on a specially created “develop branchTarget not accessible”.

For the first time, Swiss Post’s e-voting team has developed open source verification software for Switzerland, which cantonal electoral authorities can use to check the entire electronic ballot. In the expert webinar, the participants were able to follow live how this software uncovers manipulations in the electronic ballot.

Swiss Post has released key parts of its system such as the verification software and the library of cryptographic primitives under an open-source licence. At the expert webinar, open source specialist Christian Folini explained that the other parts of the system, which are made available permanently by Swiss Post, are to be understood as source available software. In his post, Christian Folini questioned whether this will allow the long-term establishment of a community that can develop and improve the software. For its part, Swiss Post aims to attract cryptographers and ethical hackers worldwide with its community and open-ended bug-bounty programme for the continuous review and improvement of the system.

The recording of the expert webinar is available below.