As States grapple with the difficult task of holding elections during the novel coronavirus pandemic, election administrators are exploring and implementing technology to deliver blank ballots electronically. The expansion of vote by mail in many states also necessitates a remote accessible ballot marking option for voters with disabilities.
A number of available systems allow the voter to receive a blank ballot electronically, mark it on their computer and print it for mailing or drop off without transmitting the voted ballot to the election office. However, these remote accessible ballot marking systems can be designed indifferent ways that have significantly different security and privacy profiles.
We explore the different architectures for remote ballot marking, comparing systems that conduct the marking process over the internet, (on a remote server), and those that mark ballots statelessly, on the client’s device. We consider the security and privacy issues associated with both technologies, and offer specific recommendations to limit security and privacy risks.