Strasbourg, 8 November 2010
Third meeting to review developments in the field
Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg
ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT: E VOTING AND ICTS.
Contribution by Spain
ELECTORAL MANAGEMENT: E VOTING AND ICTS.
1. POLITICAL ELECTIONS
1.1 E VOTING REJECTION
The Council of State (the Spanish government consultative body) issued, on February 24th 2009, a report, previously required by the Spanish government, on the proposals for the modification of the General Electoral Regime.
This report, as regards e voting states that, a brief overview of the, not so many, e voting experiences that can be found worldwide shows that e voting is a mechanism which entails doubts and reservations about the convenience of its implementation, and that the first question to face is if the introduction of e voting procedures is really necessary when it is clear that the eventual irregularities that may arise in an electoral process can be solved in a satisfactory way by following the regular systems the Spanish law in force regulates.
It is also relevant to note that the Sub commission on the possible modifications of the General Electoral Regime1 (Spanish electoral normative), created in the Congress of Deputies (first chamber of the Spanish Parliament) Constitutional Commission (proposed by all parliamentary political groups and approved by the Congress of Deputies’ Plenary September 2008), has also issued a report, approved by the Constitutional Commission on June 30th 2009, where no proposal of modification of the electoral normative in force refers to introduce e voting.
Therefore, the current Spanish electoral Act does not allow e-voting and this Act’s imminent modification (2011) does not include e voting at all, for both Government and Parliament do not support it.
1.2 PROMOTING THE USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECNOLOGIES AT THE POLLING STATION
In the European Parliament Elections 2009 the Ministry of the Interior put to the test the so called Electronically Managed Polling Station (EMPS).
The electronically managed polling station is not electronic voting, but a set of information and communication technology equipment provided to make it easier for polling station staff to carry out their duties on the Election Day.
It was used at the European Parliament Elections (EPE) held on June 2009
The EMPS (CAE), a system supervised by the Central Electoral Commission and the Constitutional Commission of the Congress of Deputies (1st Chamber), was used in three Spanish cities: Lleida, Pontevedra and Salamanca. (459 Polling stations 1.377 Members of polling stations).
Each polling station had a printer, a laptop with a National ID smart card reader and a GPRS modem, an optical barcode reader. All ballot papers used in the EPE 2009 had printed barcodes (which included the name of the candidature –closed lists-)
The EMPS makes the most of the ICTs to improve electoral management.
It is adapted to the Electoral Act provisions (Organic Law 5/1985 on the General Election Regime –LOREG-). No legal reform was needed.
The procedure was as follows:
POLLING STATION SET UP AND OPENING
The “president” of the polling station inserts in the lap top the USB memory stick that contains (encrypted) that polling station electors’ list, provided by the Electoral Roll Office (Oficina del Censo Electoral).
The poll opening form is filled out using the laptop. Data is directly captured from the electors’ list. (Polling station members’ names and data are in that list.)
The poll opening form is printed, and signed, and a copy of it is electronically send to the Centro de Recogida de Información-CRI- ( Information Compilation Centre) CRIS are located at each one of the 52 Central Government Delegations, one by provincia, to centralize information related to the elections during polling day. (I.e. opening of the polling stations, turnout, preliminary results...)
VOTING (09:00-20:00 P.M.)
Advantage: Quick and easy search in the electors’ list.
If the elector identifies him/herself with the non electronic National ID the polling station staff will search his/her data in the Laptop (i.e. search by name, surname or NID card number).
If the elector has an electronic National ID card, he/she inserts it into the card reader device and introduces the security pin.
Advantage: the numbered voters’ list is printed. (No handwriting needed.)
Once the vote has been cast, the software automatically includes the voter’s name and ID card number in the numbered voters’ list.
The polling station may print ballot papers whenever this is considered to be necessary.
POSTAL VOTE IS INCORPORATED
Advantage: Immediate identification of the postal voters in the electors’ list.
Each envelope that contains the postal vote includes: the electoral envelope with the ballot paper the elector chose, a copy of the ID (only in Out of country voting) and a certificate issued by the Electoral Roll Office.
POLL CLOSING AND COUNTING OF THE VOTES.
The ballot box is opened and each ballot paper is read with the optical barcode reader.
· the vote counting sheet / form, that contains preliminary results, is automatically filled out, without errors;
The USB memory stick and the laptop hard disk are erased. (Personal data protection).
2. NON POLITICAL ELECTIONS. MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR
On January 2009 the Guardia Civil used an e-voting system in the Consejo de la Guardia Civil Elections: Net Vote (Indra Systems Inc). This voting system, based on the use of Electronic certificates provided by the RCM-FNMT (Spanish Royal Mint), allowed electors to vote from any of the 400 polling places set in different Guardia Civil posts (quarters), regardless of their electoral constituency.
It was the fourth time that the Guardia Civil used this e voting system.
Back in 2002, the first e voting experience was conceived as a concept pilot to validate the usefulness of the cryptographic certificates. In the 2004 and 2006 elections e voting was also used but turn out was very low (in between 1%- 6%).
In the 2009 elections turn out reached 35%. (Electoral roll: 86.000 civil guards. Voters: 29.000 voters)
The voting procedure is simple. After entering the application, by using a safe address, the user proceeds to identify/authentify him/her self with the digital certificate embedded in the ID cards issued by the Spanish Royal Mint for every member of the Guardia Civil.
This means that the equipment used for the election include the card readers and the drivers needed to read those certificates. Voting equipment were connected to Indra Systems’ Net Vote servers using an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) line, with very restrictive ACLs, that was permanently monitored so to guarantee the highest security levels.
Once identified, the user could cast his/her vote, which would be transmitted in a encrypted and automatic way to the e voting platform, located at one of Indra´s Counting Centres.
The system, where the electoral list had previously been recorded, verifies every voter’s identity: first, taking into account the Spanish Royal Mint CRLs (Certificate Revocation List) –of which the Guardia Civil keeps record of a real time replica in its systems; and in secondly it considers the Active Directory LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).
For every election, an Electoral commission is formed. This Electoral commission consists, generally, of five members and has an special digital certificate issued by the Spanish Royal Mint. This certificate is divided into several parts, taking into account the personal certificates of the Electoral Commission members, so that it is impossible to rebuild it without the presence of a minimum number of those persons having a fragment of that certificate.
In the near future (2011) Scytl, in Alliance with Telefónica, will provide the Ministry of the Interior (Directorate General for the National Police and the Civil Guard Dirección General de la Policía Nacional y de la Guardia Civil) with a permanent e voting and electoral management platform. This platform will be used at the Police Council elections and will be used for the first time in 2011. Thanks to this platforms all members of the National Police will be able to vote from using an Intranet.
1 Organic Law 5/1985 on the General Election Regime –LOREG-