A Web e-voting system with a data analysis component

Published date12 March 2018
Date12 March 2018
AuthorStavros Valsamidis,Sotirios Kontogiannis,Theodosios G. Theodosiou,Ioannis Petasakis
Subject MatterInformation & knowledge management,Information systems,Information & communications technology
A Web e-voting system with
a data analysis component
Stavros Valsamidis
Department of Accounting and Finance, Eastern Macedonia and
Thrace Institute of Technology, Kavala, Greece
Sotirios Kontogiannis
Department of Mathematics, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece, and
Theodosios G. Theodosiou and Ioannis Petasakis
Department of Accounting and Finance,
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, Kavala, Greece
Purpose Currently, electronic election is one of the most popular issues of e-democracy. This has led
to the development of applications and several security mechanisms to address such necessity. The
problem that arises is that such applications are created either on demand for a specic election process,
or experimentally for scientic purposes. The purpose of this study is to present a new e-voting system,
called VOTAN. The VOTAN system involves a combination of new features with basic advantages, the
implementation as open source software, its modular organization covering the functional requirements
of a typical electronic voting system (EVS) and the capability of data analysis of candidates and voters.
Design/methodology/approach VOTAN stands for VOTesAnalyzer. It is a secure application for the
conduct of electronic electionsthrough the internet based on its own security protocol. It also includes a data
analysis component which analyzesthe election results and investigates the factors that play a crucial role.
The major advantagesof the system are that it is an open source and includes a data analysis module that can
distinguish important variablesfrom the elections and help make predictions for the outcome based on the
selected variables. It is a practical solution to the existing e-voting applications and is ideal for small
communitiessuch as organizations, universities and chambers.
Findings Its main advantage,compared to similar e-voting systems, is the integration of the data analysis
component. The analysis of the data produced from elections is considered a critical process to fully
comprehend the outcome of the elections and its correlation to specic attributes/variables of the election
process. The data analysis module is a unique feature of VOTAN. It facilitates the selection of the most
important attributes that inuencethe outcome of elections and creates a mathematical model to predictthe
outcome of an electionbased on the selected attributes. The method used in the module is the LDA.
Originality/value The originalityof the paper derives from the data analysis component and its security
protocol/schemathat fulls several requirements.
Keywords Security, LDA, E-voting, Electronic voting systems, EVS data analysis
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
The growth of electronic services on the Web leads to the development of premier Web
applications that try to offer a means of electronic democracy. Electronic elections are
currently one of the most popular issues of e-democracy. This has led to the development of
applications and several security mechanisms to address such necessity. That such
applications are created either on demand for a specic election process, or experimentally
for scientic purposesare concerning.
A Web
Received9 January 2017
Revised30 October 2017
Accepted31 October 2017
Journalof Systems and
Vol.20 No. 1, 2018
pp. 33-53
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JSIT-01-2017-0002
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Modern Electronic Voting Systems (EVSs) can be divided into two major categories:
Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting systems and Internet voting systems. The DRE
systems use touch screens, keyboards, NFC (near-eld communication) and smart card
equipment for voter authentication and voting purposes. The voting process occurs in
voting terminals, located at specic polling areas directly connected, or not, to a central
station (Diebold, 2004). The votes are immediately added to a running tally stored at the
remote central station,if this station exists, or, if not, in the DREs storage system(hard disk,
memory card). Mail voting systems also belong to this category. DRE systems have two
distinct characteristics:
(1) The DRE systems combine hardware and software to one embedded device,
keeping the implementation hidden for both hardware and software.
(2) The DRE systems use physical security in terms of specic voting areas (polling
stations) to assure EVS system authentication and security requirements.
The existing DRE systemsare presented in the following paragraphs.
One of the rst DRE EVSs used is SENSUS DRE, created by Lorrie Faith Cranor at
St. Louis University, WA in 1995 (Cranor and Cytron, 1997). It uses blind signatures to
assure that voters will vote only once. Its initial purpose was to replace voting by mail.
Today it is considered quite old andhas been abandoned. The company Trueballot, Inc has
presented the DRE system (Trueballot, 2003), which is used by companies, organizations,
universities, associations and teams of users for conducting electronic elections. The
Trueballot system offers three basic operations: ScanVOTE/TouchVOTE Ballot-On-
Demand that imitates physical voting, WebVOTE that uses Internet and TeleVOTE using
telephone as a means of conductingthe voting.
The DRE Diebold AccuVote-TS system (Diebold, 2004), used in the US elections,
constitutes an embedded device with both hardware and software such that a user using a
touch screen with a card reader may authenticate and vote, after being authenticated by
polling ofcials (votes are cast at specic poll sites) (Bederson et al.,2003). The SureVote
company (2005) provides a similar system, wherein the users authenticate themselves and
their right to vote using a numeric personal identication code and a numeric ballot code
(Bederson et al.,2003). It also offers a Web-basedInternet EVS system.
Internet EVS systems use a computer or digital television or a mobile phone (by any
hardware means) with customsoftware provided by a central voting station or stations over
the Internet (using Internet software technologies) for voting purposes. Elections are held
everywhere using remote Internet voting, thus increasing EVS systems availability
usability and scalability.This, of course, may be contentious because it is difcult to verify
that the voter is who they claim to be. Both anonymity and privacy may easily be
compromised. This opens the door to votercoercion and vote buying. Such drawbacks lead
to the implementation of stricter security mechanisms on Internet EVSs. Such systems are
presented in the next paragraph.
SafeVOTE is a software company which offers a variety of products supporting both
public and private elections using Internet voting (SafeVOTE, 2006). The Rijnland Internet
Election System (RIES) is a systemdesigned for voting in public elections over the Internet
(Gonggrijp et al., 2009). Moreover, a browser-based Agile E-Voting system is another effort
to provide a practical, voter-friendly e-voting system (Simhalu and Takeda, 2007). The
Global Election Company(2010) provides election.com, which is a global electionsoftware. It
offers poll site votingand remote electronic voting.
Various publications have addressed the benets and risks of e-voting systems (Mohen
and Glidden, 2001;Phillips and von Spakovsky, 2001;Alvarez and Hall, 2004). Electronic

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