Province of Ontario Internet voting

By  | March 8, 2018 | 11 Comments | Filed under: TIME FOR A NEW MAYOR AND 90% of COUNCIL IN 2018


Province of Ontario Internet voting


I will quote only the section on chain of trust, just to illustrate the complexity of properly building an Internet voting system, followed with some commentary:

If the implementation of the network voting system does not both support the Chain of Trust and provide auditable evidence, then the process is open to question. This Chain of Trust is a compilation of all the following measures:

  1. Source code audit to verify that the code will do only what it is intended to do.
  2. Digital signature of the audited source code to protect its authenticity and integrity.
  3. Trusted build of the executable code in front of auditors (based on audited source code).
  4. Signature of the executable code to protect its authenticity and integrity.
  5. Deployment of the executable software in a clean system. Logical sealing of the system to detect any later additions.
  6. Logic and accuracy testing of the voting system to validate it works properly.
  7. Continuous audit of the voting system during the election, through review and validation of logs and other data. The logs must be protected from external manipulations by using cryptographic measures.
  8. Post-election audit that validates that the system behaved correctly by reviewing the logical seals and the protected logs.
  9. Individual voter verification that proves their ballots were used in the final tally (by using special receipts).

A strong emphasis must be placed on audit. Independent auditors must be able to review the source code, verify the build and deployment, audit system logs during the election event, and finally to review both the counting process and the results.

So this sounds reasonable, if challenging, time-consuming, and expensive, plus requiring a great deal of specialized expertise (which means excluding most oversight by ordinary citizens). But when examined from a computer science perspective, it might as well be called the insurmountable mountain chain of trust, because each step indicated above is a difficult problem in and of itself, and some of them are active areas of research because they are currently unsolved.  Doing a meaningful source code audit for any non-trivial source code is incredibly challenging.  Making a “trusted build” is almost impossible, because literally every software component in the build needs to be somehow trusted.  Needing trusted software components means a logical loop that can’t be satisfied: in order to build trusted software, you need a trusted compiler, but in order to build a trusted compiler, you need a trusted compiler.  Similarly, the concept of “logical seals” sounds great, but no such thing exists.  You might as well say “magic lock”.  This is just one of the reasons why computer scientists will tell you that secure Internet voting with trusted software is a problem that isn’t currently solved.

Finally, here are the works cited by the main report. Where necessary, I have added Internet Archive links for unavailable works.

Province of Ontario Internet voting

When Ontario examined the municipal experience and compared the technology available with the requirements (listed earlier), they concluded

If we return to public expectations that a network voting solution would be more convenient, just as secure and less cumbersome than our current processes, the experiences of many Ontario municipalities indicate that the benefits of network voting may not be as great as predicted.



11 Responses to Province of Ontario Internet voting

    Tom Vann March 9, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Kinda makes me review how our messed up council has bungled the multiplex deal. Balance the good points of the college multiplex deal with the bad and we have a huge case against the college location.

    Now balance the good points of internet voting with the bad and a huge case against internet voting.

    Sill our council is open to sending our tax dollars to the college site as they are for using internet voting. Why?

    As I have said all along, Doug and the Slugs will send the whole or part of the multiplex to the college I believe.

    The Ice Park had to be eliminated from consideration 1st.

    The smart move from city hall would have been to allow the Ice Park to build the arenas and perhaps the gym at no cost to the taxpayers.

    Then lay out plans to include a pool with perhaps a small gym and meeting rooms across from the YMCA.

    We would own it, have our own people locally run them and BUSINESSES would flourish around them IN CAMBRIDGE.

    I see the mayor and council scrambling to get past this election.

    They want re-election and then wham…next term pound through their personal agenda.

    To me the internet voting will do this for them. Dyke is along for the ride.

    I do not trust the mayor, Dyke or the majority of council as far as I can pee.

    Hopefully several council members will not get their names on plaques at the multiplex sites.

    The proposed voting process is untrustworthy and perhaps this is a bonus for some.

    We as a people of Cambridge need to look seriously at choosing ex-cops or teachers for a council position. Lawsuits, DUI charges, calling women split-tails, draining reserve funds…. is this the kind of people we want running Cambridge?

    I believe having such pensioned lives and attitudes of entitlement has severed any links with most hard working people and their community needs.
    Efforts to elect fair, community responsible people that will divide tax spending fairly should be our goal.

    A roadblock using the internet stands before us. It appears Donna has flipped her opinion on the dam in Preston. Has the looming election been a factor?

    Frank wants the Knob Hill fountain to run again with a front page spread showing his picture. Name recognition will be used to promote re-election again this election.

    A Cambridge plan for signs, door knocking, flyers and failed responsibilities are in the works to educate voters.

    I see a lady of substance may run for mayor and I heard rumblings of a gentleman or 2 as well.

    I get asked to run about twice a week and may have my wife on board.

    Only if she is on board will I do so. The chess board is ready.

    The bomb will drop soon enough but 1st the voting process needs to be addressed and Santa needs more coal.

    Asking March 9, 2018 at 7:15 am

    I find it so enlightening that when you tell Council that internet voting is not secure you get remarks like ‘I don’t think Putin wants to hack our election.’

    The whole point gets missed here. Next you have a Councillor that helped to pass the internet voting for the 2018 election ‘Because Staff Recommended It.’ Another one who obviously does not understand the real issue here which is the proven fact that internet voting is not secure!!! No Way!!

    It has been proven that an internet voting website can be ‘hacked’ and re-configured and the company that has the program for internet voting has no idea a hack has taken place. Oh you say it can’t happen in Cambridge?

    Well the website was compromised so I guess we can never say never!!
    City Staff and member of this Council need to listen to what residents have been telling them!!

    This online voting system is untrustworthy and is not secure.

    Let me ask…If City Staff and Members of Council are wanting online voting WHY???

    I really want a valid reason since both the Federal and Provincial Governments do not use online voting and will not be using online voting in the upcoming elections…
    Seems to me the Provincial Government and the Federal Government are smarter than our Municipal Government.

  3. Debbie Duff Vitez March 9, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Good points, Asking and Tommy..

    There is only one reason why Craig and his poppets NEED/want internet voting..

    I spoke to a friend recently, and was told, Craig said ” Paper ballots can fail as well”

    I agree, especially when it takes 2.5 hours to get the ballots to city hall.. A 20 ride on a good day..


    Asking March 9, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Hmm…seems to me there is something ‘fishy’ here…Paper ballots can fail?? Well that seems funny…Let me think this through..I go to a Polling Station…I give the Poll Clerk my Voting Card and produce my ID. The Poll Clerk then gives me a Paper Ballot. I go and make my selection as to who I want to represent me and come out of the Polling Booth and then proceed to drop my Ballot in the Ballot Box. Seems logical…One Paper Ballot being dropped into the Ballot Box…Am I missing something here?? How can Paper Ballots fail? The only thing that can happen is they become ‘Spoiled Ballots’ if they were not marked correctly when the individual was making their selection. If there are 15 Paper Ballots in the Ballot Box then only one thing can happen..All 15 votes get allocated to the running Candidates and those votes have to add up…what is the problem..If there is a ‘Spoiled Ballot’ that would also be accounted for in the 15 ballots.
    Don’t feed me a bunch of crap…I didn’t fall off the turnip truck!!!!

    Randy Toner March 9, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Paper ballots failing does not sound right to me. They seemed to work for years but now we’re told a better way is here. More hogwash from government. l trust the paper ballots more than l trust on line.

    Tim March 10, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Randy…we can be told anything…and that’s why this council is saying the online voting is the way to go…but it is not the way to go…it’s not secure..and people need to know that…the word needs to get out…and this Council needs to hear it from professionals and not from the City employed IT department…it needs to be heard from a third party that is no way involved with the City…

    Tom Vann March 10, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I agree Tim, but then how will they get re-elected? We know why Price never challenged Adshades 2 vote win. This is what our group is and will be doing with flyers, business cards, door knocking and social media. I will be speaking with a flyer business willing to assist us for slightly over cost. It’s funny to see promises to Preston before an election as well. Donna stated 2 terms and out (I have a file), Frank and Mike should be tarnished after June and Adshade is done. This opens the door for 4 new people. With the words I’m hearing in ward 5 are true Pam could also be gone. Using the city IT people is like the cops investigating the cops on charges. Weekly articles in the mews stated negatives about online voting yet the mayor and the Titanic are full steam ahead. People in city hall are looking for changes.

    Tim March 11, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Hmm… Online Voting was allowed to elect the leader of the Ontario Conservative Party. Big Mistake!!! And Cambridge City Council is going to use online voting in the Municipal Election in the fall? What kind of boneheads voted for that??

    Watching March 11, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Exactly – Boneheads. They run your City – mega money spent on the old Post Office – why not private money? The bridge to Nowhere. The $800,000. purchase of an old bldg. downtown Galt – for what? And one of the sites chosen for the Complex – all of it – sold off & the City could have purchased it first. Now the Preston Dam – fiasco – all of a sudden – going to be re-built – talk about election time!!$$$ But Preston people – beware – it isn’t built yet………
    And now the water falls on Hespeler Rd. – we don’t need this. Cost too much to run. And the 48,000.-74,000. spent on a sign at City Hall that no one will see – this should have gone at the Water Falls site – so yes talk about Boneheads – we got them at City Hall – starting with our Mayor – he is the biggest Bonehead of all and to think you might get his money-wasting ideas for another 4 yrs. – ouch – the thought hurts.
    We need Go-train – that is the best idea for Cambridge area going. Wake up City Boneheads. Our only hope is to get rid of Craig & the Boneheads that follow him. Pray for some common sense in this next election – oh darn I forgot – Online voting – can be fixed……………????? More of the same……..?????

    Tim March 11, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Seems to me that there was a lot of wasteful spending of taxpayers money down at City Hall….How did all this happen?? Does the taxpayer not have a chance to voice their opinion in how their money is being spent? Do we not expect Council to do due diligence and spend the money wisely?
    Will this constant spending end with a new Council in October? I think that needs to be one of the mandates that the nominees are held accountable for…There isn’t an endless supply of money and Council members need to be aware of that. Not everyone that lives in this City are teachers, retired police officers, or firemen. We do have an aging demographic and they are not ‘flush’ with cash…some are barely making ends meet on their pensions

    Tom Vann March 11, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Look at who is NDP on council, Donna and Pam and watch how they vote. They like the internet voting. I would vote for Hermy the Hamster before I ever vote teacher NDP. I made that mistake with Bob Rea. What kind of guy is Ray? Well he tossed his party and beliefs and went to the Liberals for his own selfish wants. Kind of guy you don’t want to go to war with. Then that guy with the head dress on as Fed NDP leader. Ya, that’s who I want running Canada. Do I dare suggest some election sign stealers were NDP. We are being robbed of our franchise with internet voting. The duty of all true Canadian’s to take the time to cast a paper ballot is an honor that is be stripped from us. Those that laid in blood dripping soaked ditches spent years doing their duty. The least we can do is spend an hour to honor their gift and vote on paper ballots. Shame on these corrupt bastards that are undermining our country and people. Filth for gain. I believe we are in the final generation before the big smoke. Where they are heading…they don’t take VISA and machines can’t be rigged. Is the pay worth the job Gary?

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