Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V.

Lecture Notes in Informatics

4th international conference on electronic voting 2010 P-167, 33-44 (2010).

Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn

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The use of E-voting in the austrian federation of students elections 2009

Robert Krimmer , Andreas Ehringfeld and Markus Traxl


The use of e-voting for the elections to the Austrian Federation of students (Hochschülerinnen und Hochschülerschaftswahlen) was one of the most sophisticated Austrian e-government projects in 2009. The task was to complement the paper based voting with an electronic voting channel in order to create new opportunities to vote. Together with the implementation of e-voting the legal basis of the federation of students was adapted to include an electronic election administration. The discussion around e-voting was rather controversial with clear pro and contra positions. This first of a kind implementation of e-voting in Austria was technically successful. Almost 1\% (2.161) of the eligible students cast their votes electronically between 18th and 22nd of May 2009. For identification and authentication, they used the citizen card (the Austrian model of a smart card with digital signature) and a suitable smartcard-reader device, which was handed out for free. The anonymity was performed by using a cryptographic protocol in the postvoting phase, similar to a paper based postal voting procedure. The e-voting servers were placed in two data centers of the Federal Computing Centre (Bundesrechenzentrum) to allow for fail-safe operation. While the discussion around e-voting was rather controversial with clear pro and con positions, and marked a first nation-wide discussion around remote voting in general. For future uses of e-voting in Austria the penetration of identification and authentication means has to be raised as well as a more positive atmosphere amongst the stakeholders has to be reached. 33 The first legally binding election offering a voting channel through the Internet in Europe took place at the University of Osnabrück (Germany) on February 2nd and 3rd of 2000 [FoIn00]. This served as the initial starting point for concrete thoughts around the use of electronic means in the elections to the Austrian federation of students. In May of that year the chairman of the federation of students took this as a reason to request the

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Gesellschaft für Informatik, Bonn
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