7 December 2022
A research project on internet elections in Greenland must provide a better basis for decision
A group of researchers from the IT University will – in collaboration with the Greenlandic authorities – investigate how an internet election will affect the voters’ confidence in the electoral process. DIREC has granted the group 1.8 million DKK for the project.
In a time where we can deal with many things online, it may seem strange that voters in the vast majority of the world’s democracies still have to cast their votes by physically attending a polling station. The reason for this is that it is extremely difficult to ensure that everything takes place according to the democratic regulations when an election is held online. For example, it is difficult to maintain the secrecy of the vote, just as there is a fear of giving hackers an increased opportunity of altering the votes.
Having said that, there are of a lot of arguments in favour of internet elections, not least in Greenland, where the enormous distances, for example, can make it difficult to reach everyone with physical ballots in time. And this is exactly one of the reasons why a change in the law in 2020 paved the way for the Greenlandic government to give Greenlanders the opportunity to cast their vote online in the future. Greenland can thus become one of the few places in the world where the critized internet voting systems can be put into use.
A group of researchers from the IT University will now, in collaboration with the Greenlandic authorities, investigate how an internet election will affect the voters’ confidence in the electoral process. DIREC, which is partially financed by the Innovation Fund, has granted the group DKK 1.8 million for the project: Trust through Software Independence and Program Verification, which aims to investigate whether the technical software verifications in the internet election systems will increase trust among the voters.
– My goal is to give the Greenlandic decision-makers good conditions for deciding which system they should use to hold online elections. From a research point of view, the project can also be valuable. Technologically speaking, we are moving into unknown territory and depending on our results, you can easily imagine that the many, many countries that can see the benefits of an election will be able to use our results as well. And finally, Greenland – with its limited population and great distances – is an optimal place to start from, says professor at the IT University, Carsten Schürmann, who is Principal Investigator on the project.