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RSA Laboratories

Coercion-Resistant Electronic Elections

Ari Juels

Citation: A. Juels, D. Catalano, and M. Jakobsson. Coercion-Resistant Electronic Voting. WPES '05, pp. 61-70. 2005

Abstract: We introduce a model for electronic election schemes that involves a more powerful adversary than in previous work. In particular, we allow the adversary to demand of coerced voters that they vote in a particular manner, abstain from voting, or even disclose their secret keys. We define a scheme to be _coercion-resistant_ if it is infeasible for the adversary to determine whether a coerced voter complies with the demands.

A first contribution of this paper is to describe and characterize a new and strengthened adversary for coercion in elections. (In doing so, we additionally present what we believe to be the first formal security definitions for electronic elections of _any_ type.) A second contribution is to demonstrate a protocol that is secure against this adversary. While it is clear that a strengthening of attack models is of theoretical relevance, it is important to note that our results lie close to practicality. This is true both in that we model real-life threats (such as vote-buying and vote-cancelling), and in that our proposed protocol combines a fair degree of efficiency with an unusual lack of structural complexity. Furthermore, while previous schemes have required use of an untappable channel, ours only carries the much more practical requirement of an anonymous channel.

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