Open source, COTS-based voting tech

Open source, COTS-based voting tech

Although the obstacles to online voting are legion, that hasn’t stopped technology entrepreneurs from trying to invent a better ballot.

A new company, Free & Fair, is offering a suite of products to make elections more verifiable, transparent and secure.  The firm is a spin off from Galois, a research company that has worked with the federal government on identity and privacy services, cybersecurity defense solutions, mobile cryptographic authentication and even secure drone software.  

Using technologies and approaches developed at Galois, Free & Fair aims to help election officials move from proprietary vendor systems to high-assurance, open source software running on commercial off-the-shelf  (COTS) hardware.

Three open source services developed by Free & Fair are currently available:

Tabulator – a secure and verifiable ballot scanning and tabulation system that generates and securely stores digital images of paper ballots, which either come directly from existing voting systems or are created with COTS scanners.

ePollbook – a scalable, secure and resilient electronic poll book solution that runs on a variety of COTS hardware and operating systems and integrates with voter registration and election management systems to provide instant statistics and reporting.

Supervised Voting System – a complete polling place solution that verifies each step in the voting process from check-in to ballot casting to provide secure election administration. It is based on STAR-Vote: a secure, transparent and auditable voting system designed jointly by computer experts and election officials.

Because Free & Fair uses COTS hardware, jurisdictions can save money, avoid vendor lock in and easily refresh their systems.

“By developing high assurance, open source software and services whose security and architecture are reviewed by the world’s foremost experts in academia and industry, Free & Fair is ready to help election officials take back control of their election systems.” said founder and CEO Joseph Kiniry, who served as research lead for verifiable elections at Galois.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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