Trustworthy Elections

Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 10:00 am10:30 am

Joe Kiniry, Galois and Free & Fair


It is discussed in the media every day. It is the focus of congressional investigations and DEF CON villages. It is a core concern of our nation. Our democracy is in peril due to adversarial influences, both domestic and foreign.

Hundreds of millions vote on computers no cybersecurity professional trusts. Tens of millions vote with no paper ballot record. Our government agencies responsible for the correctness and security of election computing systems—primarily the EAC and NIST—are horrifically under-resourced and powerless. Elected officials and electoral officials—nearly universally in red states—deny that there is a problem and fight against any form of federal government oversight or involvement, despite our Constitution’s Election Clause. The cabal of existing voting systems vendors do everything in their power to ensure that certification standards are not strengthened, no new competition appears on the market, and their customers are captured by their unethical business practices and proprietary systems designed for vendor lock-in. And, worst of all, our Legislative and Executive branches of government are unable or unwilling to take action or show leadership.

Enough is enough. It is time for a change.

This talk will explain in plain language (i) how we got to where we are today in elections in the USA, (ii) the dramatic contrast between the facts on the ground and the claims made by certain elected officials and existing vendors, and (iii) what we can practically do to break this cycle.

We will describe what we are doing with an international group of world-class researchers and developers, using technology developed for the DoD and IC, to create a high-assurance, open source, open hardware end-to-end verifiable voting system that will dramatically decrease the cost of elections, break this market, force existing vendors to evolve or perish, and increase voters’ trust in elections because elections will now be trustworthy.

Joseph Kiniry, Galois and Free & Fair

Dr. Joseph Kiniry is a Principal Scientist at Galois. He is also the Principled CEO and Chief Scientist of Free & Fair. Since 2002 he has held permanent positions at four universities in Denmark, Ireland, and The Netherlands, most recently a Full Professor and Head of the Software Engineering Section at the Technical University of Denmark.

Joe has extensive experience in formal methods, high-assurance software engineering, foundations of computer science and mathematics, and information security. Specific areas that he has worked in include software, firmware, and hardware verification foundations and tools, digital election systems and democracies, cryptography, critical systems for nation states and national security, and CAD systems for asynchronous hardware design.

He has nearly twenty years experience in the design, development, support, auditing, and hacking of electronic voting systems. He co-led the DemTech research group at the IT University of Copenhagen and has served as an adviser to the US, Dutch, Irish, and Danish governments in matters relating to electronic voting. He has taught thousands of students in eight universities given scientific and non-technical talks at over one hundred conferences and events.

@conference {226359,
author = {Joseph Kiniry},
title = {Trustworthy Elections},
year = {2019},
address = {Burlingame, CA},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},