Abstract: This paper addresses the democracy-oriented legal and constitutional requirements that an electronic voting system has to comply with. Its scope covers every election or decision-making process, which takes place through voting. Due mainly to the digital divide and to current technological limitation, electronic voting cannot be proposed as a universal means of voting but rather as an alternative option, supplemental to traditional voting means. An electronic voting process must be designed in such a way as to guarantee the general, free, equal and secret character of elections. In a democratic context an electronic voting system should respect and ensure attributes and properties such as transparency, verifiability, accountability, security and accuracy. Only then can it foster and promote the participation of the citizens, the legitimacy and the democratic transaction of the election process.
Key words:Security, electronic voting, voting technologies, user requirements, legal requirements, secure information systems.
Acknowledgements:This work has been supported in part by the European Commission, IST Programme, Project e-vote (An Internet-based electronic voting system).
Introduction - METHODOLOGY
In this paper, the term “e-vote” (electronic voting) is used to denote a voting process, which enables voters to cast a secure and secret ballot over the Internet or an Intranet (in the case of “internal” elections or decision making). In the framework of this paper, an e-voting process may fall in one of the following four categories: a)Public elections and/or referenda at state and/or local level (with binding effects). b)Internal elections and similar decision procedures.
c)Advisory polls for decision-making and advisory referenda. d)Internet polls.
The aim of this paper is to discuss whether an e-voting scheme could meet the constitutional and other legal requirements, as these are laid down in the international legal and regulatory framework. The paper deals with how an e-vote process should be designed and implemented in order to comply with the democratic election principles and rights as well as to other human rights, which constitute the cornerstone of the international legal civilization. These issues are discussed in the light of the voting principles and rights of the users involved in an election process, which are similar within the European Union member states. The scope of the paper is not limited to the general public elections, but also includes every election or decision-making process, which takes place through voting. It extends also to (Internet or Intranet) polls without binding effects (if the latter - in view of their nature or their extent - could influence the public discourse in a given...