Could Clinton question the election result?2016-11-09
Donald Trump is now elected the new US President and a question he raised during his campaign was the confidence of the voting system and election result. So, should Hilary Clinton now question the result? Melanie Volkamer, professor of Computer Science at Karlstad University, researches on e-voting and says that the systems used today could be questioned but there are ways of avoiding this.
Currently, different voting systems are used in the USA. In some states, votes are cast on paper ballots and the four-eye principle is used for counting, while other states use electronic voting.
- Both systems may lead to suspicions that results have been manipulated, either by election officials or through the e-voting system, says Melanie Volkamer.
Sometimes e-voting systems are extended so called paper audit trails to increase the reliability of the existing electronic voting systems. When a voter has cast an electronic vote a receipt is printed, showing that the vote has been registered correctly. The receipts are put into ballot boxes and are later counted by officials, as if these votes were brought out on ballots.
- This type of system makes it considerably more likely to detect manipulate results. But the system is not effective and there is still room for suspicions.
New system under development
Melanie Volkamer and her fellow researchers have been studying e-voting for a number of years. They have developed a dependable voting system that makes use of advance cryptography and provides mathematical proof that results are correct. This system also enables checking whether all votes have been registered correctly, but these checks are done in a more systematic manner and involves the voters.
- The problem with these systems is that they are still too complex and therefore difficult to use. Right now our research is focused on making them more user-friendly, so that completely reliable voting systems will be available in the near future, says Melanie Volkamer.
The Council of Europe will be updating its guidelines for electronic voting to avoid similar situations in Europe where voting systems and election results are questioned, and Melanie Volkamer has contributed to this process.