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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/Y020529/1
Title: TrustVote: Dispute-resolution mechanisms and systems for Private and Verifiable Voting
Principal Investigator: Dragan, Dr CC
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Microsoft Swiss Federal Administration
Department: Computing Science
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: New Investigator Award
Starts: 01 February 2024 Ends: 31 July 2026 Value (£): 375,666
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Artificial Intelligence Fundamentals of Computing
Software Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Sep 2023 EPSRC ICT Prioritisation Panel Sept 2023 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Running elections is challenging while maintaining election integrity and increased voter confidence. Recent examples have shown that both traditional and online voting systems are not sufficient resilient to achieve this, e.g. 2022 Nigeria election (e.g., voting starting late, accusations of vote tampering, and technical issues with the voting devices), 2020 US presidential election (e.g., unsubstantiated claims and voter mistrust over voting device corruption and doubts over election integrity), 2019 Moscow election (e.g., cryptographic issues), and 2011-2013 Norway elections (e.g., software inaccuracies, voters voting twice - online and in-person).

In 2020 the European Commission for democracy through law has highlighted in their CDL-AD(2020)025-e report that dispute-resolution is an essential requirement for successful elections. Their focus has been on providing an overview of the types of disputes that appear in polling stations and the legal mechanisms to handle complaints. The 2022 UK Tory leadership election (that used online voting) and the UK House of Commons divisions raise interesting challenges that have not been previously addressed.

This project will build the foundations for real-world dispute-resolution in voting by formalizing disputes, types and timing of dispute evidence, and introducing definitions to accurately model those disputes and their context. Moreover, it will propose novel dispute-resolution mechanisms to completely solve or mitigate those disputes.

Research into dispute-resolution has been so underdeveloped, as there are few voting protocols that are known or believed to satisfy dispute-resolution. The project will enhance existing academic protocols (e.g., Helios, Belenios, Selene, JCJ/Civitas) and real-world systems (e.g., ElectionGuard, Swiss Postal Voting) to satisfy dispute-resolution. To ensure the confidence in our analysis, we'll provide where appropriate machine-checked proof guarantees for the novel mechanisms and updated protocols and systems.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk