Estonian e-election… and penguins

Today I overcame my paranoia (where and how is my vote stored? Who has access to it?) and decided to vote electronically.

По-русски

It was a pleasant experience since I didn’t need to turn-on my old laptop and log-in into Windows that wasn’t updated (and used) for maybe a few years now – the voting system works on all popular platforms – Win, Mac, Linux (32 and 64).

The voting starts at election portal. After logging in, you would be presented with your information and invitation to proceed:

screenshot14

Welcome. You’ve reached e-voting page. Click next (Edasi) to proceed.

Next page offers you to download the voting client for Linux:

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Then one must checksum the file, make it executable and run it.

$ sha1sum valimine.bin
f30c196df19493ab87335dc1672eba68ba484d9d  valimine.bin
$ chmod +x ./valimine.bin

…. and the application pops up. It seems to be written in Java (the whole e-identity card on linux is Java based):

screenshot16

Here you need to click the only button (Load (candidates) name list). The lists don’t load. Actually you are asked for you identity code (PIN 1) and if it’s correct, you are notified that this electronically given vote is counted just as paper vote:

screenshot18

Clicking Otsustama (decide) loads the names

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Tagasi = back, Valin = I choose

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Image is altered, so that my vote would remain private (or will it?!). One click – Hääletan (voting) and you are asked for your digital signature PIN 2. And that’s it! You are presented with a general notice of important voting dates and conditions.

screenshot22

You can now close the app only to find out that developers of voting portal (first pic) forgot to create log-out functionality.

This kind of voting is interesting, but it still remains a mystery to me how this vote is stored and if my privacy is guaranteed. I believe all the choices and sensitive data is hashed… but I still have that weird paranoia feeling.

Moreover, it has huge shortcomings –  voting on PC doesn’t guarantee freedom and privacy of choice a voting booth has. Anyone can look at your monitor. Interested people can easily buy and/or call people to vote AND CONTROL the vote. This way voting partially becomes a useless mascarade IMHO.

The e-voting is ended for now and 104 415 voters (21.6% of people with voting right) used the system. Oh, and the election commission has twitter too!

I hope this is the last time such system is used. Software could be easily altered to be used from approved terminals, not home PCs. Being installed in shopping centers, schools in PRIVATE voting booths they would save paper, money, time AND vote privacy.

And as for elections in general:

9fv5nq

cheers Internet strangers 🙂 !

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