Scantegrity II Municipal Election at Takoma Park: The First E2E Binding Governmental Election with Ballot Privacy

Working Paper No.: 
Date Published: 
Richard Carback
UMBC CDL; Jeremy Clark
University of Waterloo; John Conway

On November 3, 2009, voters in Takoma Park, Maryland, cast ballots for mayor and city council members using the ScantegrityII voting system—the first time any end-to-end (e2e) voting system with ballot privacy has been used in any binding governmental election. This case-study describes how we carried out this complex engineering feat involving improved design and implementation of a novel cryptographic voting system, streamlined procedures, agreements with the City, and assessments of the experiences of voters and poll workers.

The election with 1722 voters from six wards involved paper ballots with invisible-ink confirmation codes, instant-runoff voting with write-ins, early and absentee (mail-in) voting, dual-language ballots, provisional ballots, privacy sleeves, any which-way scanning with parallel conventional desk-top scanners, end-to-end verifiability based on optional web-based voter verification of votes cast, a full hand recount, thresholded authorities, three independent outside auditors, full transparency, fully disclosed software, and exit surveys for voters and pollworkers.

Despite some glitches, the use of Scantegrity II was a success, demonstrating that e2e cryptographic voting systems can be effectively used and well accepted by the general public.