The Council of Europe continues to be the only organisation that has set intergovernmental standards in the field of e-voting.

The Recommendation Rec(2004)11 on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting remains the only source of reference on the subject. It is used in national jurisprudence even in non-member States, as well as by other relevant international actors.

Since its adoption, the Recommendation has been subject to biennial review meetings. Discussions in the Council of Europe’s competent Rapporteur Group (GR-DEM) as well as a recent expert meeting on the Recommendation have also shown a growing consensus as to the need to update the present Recommendation, given newer technological and societal developments over time.

It is in this context that the Committee of Ministers decided to set up the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on legal, operational and technical standards for e-voting (CAHVE).

In 2014, when it became clear that after ten years there was a need for updating Rec(2004)11, the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Legal, Operational And Technical Standards for E-Voting (CAHVE), consisting of government appointed representatives from Members states and organisations with direct experience or specialised knowledge on e-voting, was created and given the mandate to revise the standards and prepare a new recommendation in the light of the new developments in the field of new technologies and elections.

The new recommendation, which consists of the actual Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)5 with core aspects of e-voting, the guidelines on the implementation of the provisions of Recommendation with specific requirements and the Explanatory Memorandum, was drafted as an enhancement of Rec(2004)11 and deals with the most critical part of election technology, namely e-voting, which means the use of electronic means to cast and count the vote. This category includes systems such as Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines, ballot scanners, digital pens and internet voting systems.

It aims to harmonise the implementation of the principles of democratic elections and referendums when using e-voting, thus building the trust and confidence of voters in their respective voting process and e-voting schemes.