Election Verification — Allowing Voters to Verify their Votes
To allow voters the ability to verify that their vote was included in the voting results and was not tampered with between the time they voted and when the results were shared, use the "Vote Audit" report. This creates an election that is observable and transparent. Voters can view this report as part of results sharing. The "Vote Audit" now lists a "Verification Code"
A verification code is a fifteen-character hash generated from the combination of a voters' choices on the ballot and their Voter ID. A hash algorithm takes the voter's ballot choices and Voter ID and translates that information into a series of numbers and letters, like the example in the picture above. It also achieves the following:
- It is impossible to work backwards. Even if you knew the algorithm we use to calculate the hashes, you should never be able to turn a verification code back into the information about the voter's ballot choices and Voter ID.
- Two voters in the same election will not be assigned the same verification code (known as collision).
- The verification code is dynamic. We do not save them to our database because they are re-calculated each time someone views the "Vote Audit" page. This means that the verification code, as it sits in the "Vote Audit", is the most current record. If a voter's voting choices haven't been changed, then the hash should never change.
Verification codes are provided to voters on the "Confirmation" screen when they have finished submitting their ballot. We note to voters that they note this information, and as an administrator, you can optionally send them a copy of the confirmation. If you are using notice types other than email, it is essential that you ask your voters to retain their verification code from the "Confirmation" screen because the vote confirmation receipt is only available via email.
Setting Up an Election so Voters Can Verify Their Vote Integrity
- On the "Details" page of your election setup, find the "Voters can view the election results" setting (under the Security heading; it is the last section on the page).
- Set that setting to either "any time after the election starts" or "only after the election has ended". The voters will need to be able to view the results in order to verify anything!
- Continue to the "Ballot" stage, and build your ballot as required.
- If you choose to use "Advanced Ballot Customization", do not remove the portion about verification code if you want your election to be independently observable and certifiable. If you choose to remove the portion about the verification code, the voters will not be able to see their verification code.
- If you want voters to receive the verification by email, choose email notices and select "Email a receipt to voters" to get their verification code emailed to them directly after they vote.
- Share the results with your voters at the conclusion of your election. When results are shared, voters will be able to view the "Vote Audit" and can verify the integrity of their vote by comparing their verification code to the list in the "Vote Audit".