The Paper Ballot Is Not Enough

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 4:30pm5:00pm

Ben Adida, VP Engineering, Clever


Over the last 15 years, election integrity advocates have pushed the paper ballot as the unifying solution to various election audit problems. As long as we have the paper ballot, we thought, we can always recount. The US election of 2016 has given us ample evidence that a paper ballot recount is a lot less likely to occur than we had imagined. We cannot continue to rely solely on paper recounts to ensure the integrity of our elections.

Instead, we should build election systems that inherently provide evidence of their integrity, not via a post-hoc audit process, but by virtue of running the election itself. We should be able to challenge election results not because an election is close, but because there is hard objective evidence of questionable integrity. We'll focus on end-to-end cryptographic techniques and how they can work in practice, and we'll also touch on how important voter registration is, and what we can do to increase our confidence in the maintenance of voter rolls.

Ben Adida, VP Engineering, Clever

Ben Adida is a software engineer with a passion for using technology to empower individuals. He has extensive academic and industry experience in identity and payments, voting technology, health IT, security and privacy, and Web architecture.

Ben is VP Engineering at Clever, which securely connects more than 50% of US classrooms to educational software. In his free time, Ben works on Helios, a publicly available, truly verifiable, online voting system. Ben holds a PhD in Cryptography and Information Security from MIT.

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@conference {201648,
author = {Ben Adida},
title = {The Paper Ballot Is Not Enough},
year = {2017},
address = {Oakland, CA},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = jan

Presentation Video