The voting system, including electronic systems, should be sufficiently secure against fraud.
- The e-voting system shall maintain the availability and integrity of the votes. It shall also maintain the confidentiality of the votes and keep them sealed until the counting process. If stored or communicated outside controlled environments, the votes shall be encrypted.
- 29. All possible steps shall be taken to avoid the possibility of fraud or unauthorized intervention affecting the system during the whole voting process. 30. The e-voting system shall contain measures to preserve the availability of its services during the e-voting process. It shall resist, in particular, malfunction, breakdowns or denial of service attacks.
- E-voting should respect the principles of democratic elections and referendums and be at least as reliable and secure as democratic elections referendums which do not involve the use of electronic means.
- Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain peace and security.
- Only persons appointed by the electoral authority shall have access to the central infrastructure, the servers and the election data. There shall be clear rules established for such appointments. Critical technical activities shall be carried out by teams of at least two people. The composition of the teams shall be regularly changed. As far as possible, such activities shall be carried out outside electoral periods.
- [States should foster citizen participation in the electoral process by]enabling all citizens to exercise their right to vote through proxy voting, postal voting or e-voting, on the condition that the secrecy and the security of the vote are guaranteed.
- Ballot papers should be designed and printed under the management of the EMB and in conditions of strict security. The design of ballot boxes and all election materials should be consistent
- Sensitive election materials such as ballot boxes and ballot papers should be stored and delivered under strict security in order to prevent electoral fraud.
- The signing and stamping of ballot papers should not take place at the point when the paper is presented to the voter, because the signatory or the person affixing the stamp might mark the paper so that the voter could be identified when it came to counting the votes, which would violate the secrecy of the ballot.
- [M]obile ballot boxes should only be allowed under strict conditions, avoiding all risks of fraud.
- The voter should collect his or her ballot paper and no one else should touch it from that point on.
- The system must be sufficiently secured against fraud. This is done by the representation in all bodies that handles votes by well respected, neutral authorities or by multi-party representation, by secure control systems for voters, by secure storing and transportation of ballots, and by results being published at all relevant levels.
- Both software and hardware should include the best possible safeguards against any form of manipulation or hacking.
- [U]nused voting slips must never leave the polling station.
- Several countries are already using, or are preparing to introduce mechanical and electronic voting methods. The advantage of these methods becomes apparent when a number of elections are taking place at the same time, even though certain precautions are needed to minimise the risk of fraud, for example by enabling the voter to check his or her vote immediately after casting it. Clearly, with this kind of voting, it is important to ensure that ballot papers are designed in such a way as to avoid confusion. In order to facilitate verification and a recount of votes in the event of an appeal, it may also be provided that a machine could print votes onto ballot papers; these would be placed in a sealed container where they cannot be viewed. Whatever means used should ensure the confidentiality of voting.
- Election materials should be procured in a transparent manner
- Furthermore, State authorities should ensure that the ballot is conducted so as to avoid fraud or other illegality, that the security and the integrity of the process is maintained, and that ballot counting is undertaken by trained personnel, subject to monitoring and/or impartial verification.
- If the polling station officials represent a proper balance of political opinion, fraud will be difficult, and the fairness of the ballot should be judged by two main criteria alone: the number of electors who have cast votes compared with the number of ballot papers in the ballot box. The first measure can be determined by the number of signatures in the electoral register. Human nature being what it is (and quite apart from any intention to defraud), it is difficult to achieve total congruity between the two measures, and any further controls such as numbering the stubs of ballot papers or comparing the total number of ballot papers found in the ballot box plus those cancelled and unused with the number of ballot papers issued to the polling station may give some indication, but one should be under no illusion that the results of these various measures will coincide perfectly. The risk in multiplying the measures used is rather that the differences in the totals, and in the end the real irregularities, will not be taken seriously. It is better to have strict control over two measures than slack – and hence ineffective – control over a larger number of variables.
- Electronic voting methods must be secure and reliable. They are secure if the system can withstand deliberate attack; they are reliable if they can function on their own, irrespective of any shortcomings in the hardware or software. Furthermore, the elector must be able to obtain confirmation of his or her vote and, if necessary, correct it without the secrecy of the ballot being in any way violated.
- The Council of Europe has identified two types of cyberthreats to elections. First, threats to electoral democracy, namely “attacks against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of election computers and data”, compromising voter databases or registration systems; tampering with voting machines to manipulate results; interference with the function of systems on election day; and illegal access to computers to steal, modify, disseminate sensitive data. Second, threats to deliberative democracy, i.e. “information operations with violations of rules to ensure free, fair and clean elections” related to data protection, political finances, media coverage of electoral campaigns and broadcasting and political advertising.
- [V]oters should always have the possibility of voting in a polling station. Other means of voting are acceptable under the following conditions: iii. postal voting should be allowed only where the postal service is safe and reliable; the right to vote using postal votes may be confined to people who are in hospital or imprisoned or to persons with reduced mobility or to electors residing abroad; fraud and intimidation must not be possible.
- Any unused ballot papers should remain at the polling station and should not be deposited or stored in different premises. As soon as the station opens, the ballot papers awaiting use must be in full view on the table of the senior station official for instance. There should be no others stored in cupboards or other places.
- The legal framework must address a myriad of issues to ensure a genuine opportunity to exercise the right to vote on the basis of equal and universal suffrage. These issues concern conditions outside the polling sites, as well as inside it, before, during and after voting takes place. The provisions must ensure, among other things, that: ...Security protocols are provided that guarantee voting integrity, including preventing ballot box stuffing and irregularities and fraud in electronic voting.
- [V]oting slips must not be tampered with or marked in any way by polling station officials.
- [E]lectronic voting should be used only if it is safe and reliable; in particular, voters should be able to obtain a confirmation of their votes and to correct them, if necessary, respecting secret suffrage; the system must be transparent.