Helios Voting and other strategies

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Helios Voting and other strategies

Rick Kwan
Has anyone here used Helios Voting (http://www.heliosvoting.org)?  It
appears to be written to run on top of Django.  It claims to be "the
first web-based, open-audit voting system," which sounds like sheer
goodness to me.  Naturally the author reports very satisfied users,
and there is a USENIX security paper to go with it.  I'm trying to get
a fuller picture.

I need to host a voting application in about a month with about 1000
voters, and candidates for three offices.  SurveyMonkey is limited to
100 votes for free.  (Perhaps we should just go pay the extra.)  I saw
some commercial site that would charge us about 64 cents per
registered voter.

We haven't put up the money for an SSL certificate yet, and thus don't
run HTTPS yet.  We're on a shared Linux server that hosts our domain;
I don't have root access.  We've talked about migrating to a VM; I had
designs of putting Django on it, but have run out of personal free
time and resources to pull this off.

I'm open to suggestions, comments about Helios, etc.

--Rick Kwan
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Re: Helios Voting and other strategies

Stephen McInerney
Rick - since time is a big issue for you, just fork out the $20 for
SurveyMonkey already (up to 1000 responses),
that's what I did when I did the member survey in 2005.
SurveyMonkey gives you tons more functionality:
  http://www.surveymonkey.com/Home_PricingDetail.aspx
Then download the results and cancel your subscription after the event.

SSL costs an extra $9.95/mo with them:
  http://help.surveymonkey.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/336/session/L3NpZC9KM0RSeGJXag%3D%3D

I know nothing about Helios Voting.

Stephen


> Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2010 09:22:09 -0800
> From: [hidden email]
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: [Baypiggies] Helios Voting and other strategies
>
> Has anyone here used Helios Voting (http://www.heliosvoting.org)?  It
> appears to be written to run on top of Django.  It claims to be "the
> first web-based, open-audit voting system," which sounds like sheer
> goodness to me.  Naturally the author reports very satisfied users,
> and there is a USENIX security paper to go with it.  I'm trying to get
> a fuller picture.
>
> I need to host a voting application in about a month with about 1000
> voters, and candidates for three offices.  SurveyMonkey is limited to
> 100 votes for free.  (Perhaps we should just go pay the extra.)  I saw
> some commercial site that would charge us about 64 cents per
> registered voter.
>
> We haven't put up the money for an SSL certificate yet, and thus don't
> run HTTPS yet.  We're on a shared Linux server that hosts our domain;
> I don't have root access.  We've talked about migrating to a VM; I had
> designs of putting Django on it, but have run out of personal free
> time and resources to pull this off.
>
> I'm open to suggestions, comments about Helios, etc.
>
> --Rick Kwan
> _______________________________________________
> Baypiggies mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To change your subscription options or unsubscribe:
> http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/baypiggies


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Re: Helios Voting and other strategies

Andrew Dalke
Rick Kwan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Has anyone here used Helios Voting (http://www.heliosvoting.org)?

I looked at it a bit early last year or so. At that point the demo was in v1. There's a v3 now, which has been used for some votes with over 1,000 people.

My experience with the old version was that there were portability problems like not running under Firefox on my Mac. I don't know what's changed.


On Mar 6, 2010, at 11:39 AM, Stephen McInerney wrote:
> Rick - since time is a big issue for you, just fork out the $20 for
> SurveyMonkey already (up to 1000 responses),


The more relevant questions are, how secure do your elections need to be, how much do you want to trust the election provider, and how much audit capabilities do you want people to have?

Helios is meant for when the answers are "very", "none at all", and "complete." SurveyMonkey is for when the answers are "somewhat", "a lot", and "doesn't matter."

Helios cannot handle write-in votes (I think), but it can handle things like approval voting. I don't know the details since as far as I know of there's no demo site where one can set up a vote, or see how well the voting system works for your browser. This may have changed since the last time I looked at it.

You might also consider Helios if you wish to support that style of cryptographically provable elections in the future.

> SSL costs an extra $9.95/mo with them:
>   http://help.surveymonkey.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/336/session/L3NpZC9KM0RSeGJXag%3D%3D

This is needless. The question in votes isn't so much "is the connection between you and the provider secure" but "is the provider trustworthy?" But some people won't believe the election is secure unless they see it's over SSL.


                                Andrew
                                [hidden email]


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