Swiss e-government startup Procivis and the Communication Systems Group CSG at the Department of Informatics at University of Zurich have announced their collaboration to develop an electronic voting solution. The planned platform aims to cover the entire voting process electronically and in a seamless manner, from the provision of voter information to the evaluation of results. After successful development, the blockchain-based solution is planned to be made publicly available as open source software.
The project announced today has been initiated by Swiss e-government specialist Procivis and the CSG, led by Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller with technical support from Dr. Thomas Bocek, both with the University of Zurich. The project aims to develop an integrated platform for secure e-voting services. In addition to the act of voting, the solution will also cover preceding steps, such as providing information to voters, and subsequent steps, such as vote counting. In case of a successful development, the deployment of the e-voting platform as part of a pilot for internal elections at the University of Zurich will be considered for spring 2018.
The solution will use the Ethereum blockchain to allow secure e-voting. Once the platform has been fully developed, it is planned to be made publicly available under an open source licence to ensure transparency and allow independent review. The Procivis “eID+” platform, which allows the issuance and management of electronic identities, will form the basis for voter registration.
Procivis founder and CEO Daniel Gasteiger said: „E-voting is a core element of electronic governance. But despite Switzerland’s reputation as a flagship-democracy, development in this area is faltering. Since the Swiss Federal Council has now issued a clear timeline for the introduction of e-voting, we’re looking forward to contributing towards finding a solution together with the University of Zurich.”
Dr. Thomas Bocek, head of „P2P and Distributed Systems“ within CSG at University of Zurich and responsible for the project on University’s side, said: “E-voting based on blockchain technology increases transparency and, at the same time, can be technically very challenging. This makes it a highly interesting area, and we are looking forward to this exciting project.”
For the further progression of the project, Procivis and University of Zurich are aiming to get additional academic institutions and companies in and outside of Switzerland on board.