Electronic elections

For the first time muscovites are going to participate from their own computers or mobile gadgets in experimental electronic elections and online voting for a candidate to a legislative authority.

The electronic voting will be held in three electoral districts in the elections to the Moscow City Duma on 8 September 2019. The participation in it is voluntary and accessible along with the traditional way. Each voter in those districts can choose the way to vote.
Electronic
elections
For the first time muscovites are going to participate from their own computers or mobile gadgets in experimental electronic elections and online voting for a candidate to a legislative authority.

The electronic voting will be held in three electoral districts in the elections to the Moscow City Duma on 8 September 2019. The participation in it is voluntary and accessible along with the traditional way. Each voter in those districts can choose the way to vote.

If you wish to take part in electronic voting you must submit an application from 45 days to 3 days before the voting, i.e. from 24 July to 4 September 2019.
If you wish to take part in electronic voting you must submit an application from 45 days to 3 days before the voting, i.e. from 24 July to 4 September 2019.
Online elections
Online elections and electronic voting have already been used in other countries, for instance, Estonia, Switzerland, the USA and the UK. Russia had experiments with the implementing IT elections in the Volgograd region in 2009 and in Odintsovo in 2010. Russia has also used the blockchain system in elections to the Saratov youth parliament in which more than 40,000 voters took part.
Online elections
Online elections and electronic voting have already been used in other countries, for instance, Estonia, Switzerland, the USA and the UK. Russia had experiments with the implementing IT elections in the Volgograd region in 2009 and in Odintsovo in 2010. Russia has also used the blockchain system in elections to the Saratov youth parliament in which more than 40,000 voters took part.
Elections using blockchain technologies
Moscow's electronic elections guarantee complete anonymity and observance of ballot secrecy. The voter identity can not be connected with the ballot he/she made. After confirmation of the effective franchise at personal mos.ru account and anonymization electronic depersonalized ballot is stored on the blockchain.

Online services have long been a standard practice in Muscovites' life. Online voting is convenient: the voters may not come to the polling station; they can vote wherever they want. It means that young people living online will participate in the elections more active. And ctizens who are outside the voting district and people with restricted mobility may also easily vote.

Blockchain is recognized all over the world as one of the most transparent and secure technologies for electronic voting.
The blockchain technology can be compared to a school diary in which the teacher, schoolchildren and their parents make entries. However, the information entered in such a diary cannot be deleted or amended without leaving a relevant note. The term "blockchain" speaks for itself, i.e. a chain of blocks. Like diary pages, the blocks are numbered. Each new block is always generated after block having a preceding number.

Imagine that a school diary has several copies: one is with a teacher, another with a pupil and a third with the parents. As any of the parties makes an entry, the change appears in all the copies. If a pupil wishes to remove some page from his or her diary, the holders of other copies won't let him do it.

Blockchain works in the same way: in order to change the information in the blockchain network, one needs to receive an approval from the majority of its participants. The blockcain is in fact unhackable because one must penetrate the bigger part of the network's
computers to break it.
The blockchain technology can be compared to a school diary in which the teacher, schoolchildren and their parents make entries. However, the information entered in such a diary cannot be deleted or amended without leaving a relevant note. The term "blockchain" speaks for itself, i.e. a chain of blocks. Like diary pages, the blocks are numbered. Each new block is always generated after block having a preceding number.

Imagine that a school diary has several copies: one is with a teacher, another with a pupil and a third with the parents. As any of the parties makes an entry, the change appears in all the copies. If a pupil wishes to remove some page from his or her diary, the holders of other copies won't let him do it.

Blockchain works in the same way: in order to change the information in the blockchain network, one needs to receive an approval from the majority of its participants. The blockcain is in fact unhackable because one must penetrate the bigger part of the network's
computers to break it.
It worth mentioning, the remote electronic elections do not eliminate the opportunity of voting in a traditional way by attending the polling station. However, each voter in the experimental districts must choose only one option.
It worth mentioning, the remote electronic elections do not eliminate the opportunity of voting in a traditional way by attending the polling station. However, each voter in the experimental districts must choose only one option.
Moscow experiment
The districts with e-voting have been chosen by Muscovites in the "Active Citizen" project out of proposed by the Moscow Public Chamber. An opportunity to e-voting received about 450,000 residents in three districts*. This is about 6% from total amount of Moscow's voters.
Moscow experiment
The districts with e-voting have been chosen by Muscovites in the "Active Citizen" project out of proposed by the Moscow Public Chamber. An opportunity to e-voting received about 450,000 residents in three districts*. This is about 6% from total amount of Moscow's voters.
*Electoral districts participating in the experiment are: No.1 - Kryukovo, Matushkino, Savyolki, Silino, Staroye Kryukovo, No.10 – Severny, Lianozovo, Bibirevo, No.30 – Chertanovo Tsentralnoye, Chertanovo Yuzhnoye.
Election procedure
1
2
3
4
How to become an electronic voter?
24 July to 4 September, any Muscovite above 18, with residence registered in one of the three electoral districts where electronic elections are available can declare his or her desire to vote electronically.

Be the way, the citizen can later change the decision, but only within the timeframe mentioned above and just once a day.

In order to vote in a traditional way, just don't submit an application for electronic voters and come to the polling station.

How to become an electronic voter?

24 July to 4 September, any Muscovite above 18, with residence registered in one of the three electoral districts where electronic elections are available can declare his or her desire to vote electronically.

Be the way, the citizen can later change the decision, but only within the timeframe mentioned above and just once a day.

In order to vote in a traditional way, just don't submit an application for electronic voters and come to the polling station.
What is needed to successfully submit an application?
Effective franchise
Effective franchise is given to all Russian citizens above 18, with a registered residence in one of the three electoral districts where electronic elections are available.
Filled in personal mos.ru account
The following data must be provided:
- full name, date of birth;
- passport data and personal insurance policy number
- mobile phone number;
- registration address in Moscow.
Confirmed mos.ru account
If your account has not yet been confirmed, you need to confirm it. This can be done at any "My Documents" centre. Do not forget to take a passport and your personal insurance policy number.
How to participate in electronic elections?
Vote
Become an observer
Check the system
No later than three days before the elections, send, via your mos.ru account, an application for being included in the electronic voters of. Without this, you'll be unable to participate in the elections remotely. The entry to the register starts 45 days before the voting day and lasts from 24 July to 4 September.
1
Log in with your mos.ru account
Login as usual with your mos.ru account.
2
Receive an SMS with a confirmation code
During voting, as you enter the electronic ballot form, an SMS will be sent to you with a confirmation code to the number indicated in your personal account. The electronic ballot becomes accessible after you enter the correct code from the SMS. The system needs a few seconds for voting depersonalization to ensure its secrecy and anonymity. After that, you'll be able to vote with an electronic ballot.
3
Cast your vote for the candidate of your choice
Tick off the name of the candidate you've chosen.
Please note that you have only 15 minutes to vote. After that, the ballot becomes invalid, and the voting right will be considered to be used, since the ballot has been given to the voter.
For those not wishing to participate in electronic elections, an option remains to vote in a traditional way. The polling station will be opened in exactly the same way as in other districts where the experiment is not run.
For those not wishing to participate in electronic elections, an option remains to vote in a traditional way. The polling station will be opened in exactly the same way as in other districts where the experiment is not run.
Anyone can be an observer. Now it is far easier to do, since you no longer need to have the official observer status or come to the polling station, you can follow the elections online.
1
Follow through the observer node of an independent organization
This type of observation is for advanced users, who know how the blockchain technology works.

To this end, you need to connect to the node of an independent organization and monitor the vote recording in the blockchain system online.
Upon completion of the voting, the owners of independent blockchain nodes will be able to check the voting results even offline and compare them with the official data.
2
Watch on mos.ru
An Internet-connected computer or mobile device is enough.

mos.ru will be streaming the voting at electronic polling stations, in each of the three pilot electoral districts.

Here anyone will be able to observe in real time the statistics of new votes appearing in the blockchain network and the number of voters who have voted.

3
Observe at the electronic polling station
You need to have an observer status and come to the electronic polling station.

Each of the three electoral districts will have an electronic polling station. Officially registered observers will be able to stay at the electronic polling station on the single voting day to follow the voting on screens, watching the printers printing information about votes for candidates, anonymized by blockchain.
*Node, a blockchain network node, consisting of one or more computers; a minimum and indivisible unit of the blockchain network.
The system code will be published in GitHub repository in the official account of the Moscow Department of Information Technology, anyone can read it thoroughly. You can even try to hack the election system to make sure it is reliable.
1
Download the app
Any expert will be able to examine and run the server application, the so-called API, which as part of a unified system will deal with the blockchain operation directly at the time of voting.
2
Examine the documentation
In addition to the application itself, interactive documentation will be provided in OpenAPI (Swagger) format. Besides, the library code and key generation applications used to encrypt the votes will be uploaded tothe repository, as well as libraries showing encryption and decryption mechanisms, methods and examples of their operation in the user's browser.
3
Use the secure protocol for the application
You need to use HTTPS protocol with JSON requests for this application.
4
Try to hack the system
The code will be open not only to examine the system parts and mechanisms, but also to participate in trouble-shooting, the task is to decipher the test data precisely within the given 12 hours, which is the actual voting time.
FAQ
Voters
To the Specialists
Why conduct electronic elections?
To vote and control the voting results without leaving home.
Electronic voting gives an opportunity to vote wherever they are without adjustment to the polling stations' opening time. Another advantage is that voting process becomes transparent. Anyone who desires to monitor the elections can do so.

To eliminate the human factor.
Electronic voting minimizes the human factor in voting, making interference into elections less likely.

To involve as many citizens as possible in political decision-making process.
An experiment of such a scale is another means enabling the citizens to more actively participate in political decision-making. The electronic voting gives a chance not only to use one's right to elect, but also to control the summing up of election results, doing all this without leaving home and making sure that the vote is accepted.
Why is voting by means of the blockchain technology secure and transparent?
The blockchain technology ensures security in electronic voting by virtue of the technology itself. The votes will be stored in an encoded format and deleting or changing them will be impossible. The blockchain is decentralized, i.e. it has no single server that controls the network functions and is responsible for data storage. It is much more difficult to hack this network because any attempt to change the data on any of the network computer will instantly become visible to all participants of the network and such data will be rejected.

As all the data that entered the network are stored unchanged, the blockchain technology has been recognized as one of the securest for the Internet voting.

The use of the blockchain technology in experimental electronic voting will make it possible to declare a new level of transparency and accountability in elections for the society and the voter.
Why is electronic voting held on mos.ru ?
On the present moment, mos.ru is the state's sole information system having blockchain-based electronic services used by citizens.

Mos.ru is the Muscovites' most habitual platform for daily use of electronic services. The beginning of September is the time when children start their studies, which implies the use of electronic diaries, defrayal of payments accrued over the summer, making an appointment with the doctor to obtain a certificate, joining extra hobby groups, planning weekends in the city after return from dacha, etc. These are the electronic services most used on mos.ru; they are daily used by more than 2.5 million Moscow residents.
Why should the citizens come to the public services centre in case of electronic voting?
The Moscow portal of public services could verify user identity only when he or she appeared personally at one of "My Documents" offices. Only after the universal operator of the public services centre checks mos.ru account (including the telephone number) and the applicant's identity document, mos.ru account gets fully activated. Only a user with a confirmed mos.ru account, if he or she desires, can participate in the experimental electronic voting.

IMPORTANT! If you previously confirmed your account at a public services centre, you don't need to verify.

You may check your profile status in your mos.ru account.
How will the voter be protected against pressure during voting?
We are truly convinced that modern technologies make such activities extremely risky for potential violators. Today, any single or massive violation (pressurization or compulsion to voting of one or a group of persons) inevitably causes a situation in which somebody from the violation will record the on his or her smart phone. It is unlikely that, being aware of such risks, any third parties will attempt to infringe on the citizens' voting rights.
How are the risks of violating the ballot secrecy and vote replacement eliminated inside the system?
The anonymization algorithm proposed by the developers for electronic voting is similar to an attempt to compute the Metro traffic.

One can calculate all the passengers that enter the station and check their fare, but one cannot predict where that passenger will make a change or end his or her ride or exit to the city because this depends on plans and circumstances of a particular passenger at a given moment.

The anonymization machine inside the electronic voting system operates in the same way. There are hundreds of proxy servers (stations where passengers change) and an erratic choice of the route not monitored by anybody and not stored anywhere.

The anonymization mechanism can be checked very soon in an open technical test. The developers believe that it is even hypothetically impossible to learn or guess how a particular citizen voted (or whether he or she voted at all).
What risks still remain in the electronic voting system?
The sole threat to the experiments is hackers. But the probability of such an attack is very low. The Internet voting form is supplied to citizens through a closed communications channel.
Which technical solution is the base of the remote electronic voting?
The base is the electronic voting system developed by the Moscow City IT Department using the blockchain technology. The system is based on the blockchain platform supporting the smart-contracts. A private network, Ethereum platform-based platform is based on Parity nodes.

The blockchain network will operate in the Proof-of-Authority consensus algorithm.

The main smart-contract is the ballot register smart contract. It will store the encrypted votes in the blockchain and, on completion of voting, decrypt and publish results in the blockchain.
How are votes protected in the electronic voting?
The electronic voting system uses a complex set of encryption systems such as GOST encryption and other asymmetric encryption algorithms, ElGamal encryption. Three pair of cryptographic keys open and private, are formed for encrypting and decrypting of the results. The encryption keys are public ones accessible to all authorised voters.

Each encryption key is a gigantic number (about seventy signs), which is multiplied with another number that represents a vote in the blockchain. The private key remains with organizers of voting for decoding the results while the open key goes to the blockchain. During the voting the system automatically encrypts the votes right on the voters' devices and sends the encrypted votes to the blockchain.
How is the voting process formed before being written on the blockchain?
Аsynchronously, i.e. the data are delivered to the blockchain with an artifactual time delay each vote is written on the blockchain with its unique delay which changes the sequence of votes this process makes the protection of votes more reliable.
Is it technically possible to match the vote to the voter's identity?
No. At the stage of formation of the encrypted vote, the user's browser creates a single use key for signing the Ethereum transaction. Once the vote enters the system and the user closes his or her browser, the signing key is automatically destroyed. The used key and the user are not connected to each other.
How will the system be protected against leaks in intermediate stages of voting?
The intermediate voting results will be cryptographically protected.

The encryption method implies creation of the so-called session encryption key which is used once . Even if a malefactor succeeds in matching a unique pair of data (a choice made and a session key) and finds out the voter's choice, he or she will, will not be able to decrypt other ballots.
How will anonymity be assured?
An anonymization process works as follows: a unique web-site link containing a ballot is formed, this link will automatically expire (it is not cached by browser) as the voting web-site lifetime finishes (15 minutes). The link is formed by simultaneously generated hashes including random cryptographic salt formed by all the system modules creating a user path to a voting form website. This mechanism is similar to blind signature.

After the link is formed a ballot generating system checks the hashing algorithms and in case it is correct this system generates n+1 hash with another random cryptographic salt, containing a ballot website link. The link consists of random hashes generated by voting system modules.
Will the communication channel be secure during the voting?
You can open mos.ru in any supporting browser by connecting in either of two ways: open or secure connection.

Here's how it works with secure connection:

1. The user opens mos.ru; it is SSL certificate secured.

2. The user's browser sends a request to mos.ru.

3. mos.ru sends back a copy of the certificate, the browser verifies the certificate (checks with the relevant issuing certification authority). If the certificate is valid, the website and the browser secretly agree on a unique secret encryption key.

From this point on, all information exchange between the browser and mos.ru is protected from outsiders.

Traditionally, websites use certificates issued by foreign certification authorities for security.

mos.ru will support certificates issued by Russian certification authorities and use domestic encryption algorithms for protection. The secret key converts the transmitted information using an encryption algorithm approved by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (GOST R 34.10-2012, elliptic curve cryptography).

To use GOST encryption, the user needs to download one of the browsers supporting Russian encryption: Yandex.Browser or Sputnik.
Will the system of electronic voting interact with the "Elections" State Automated System and the "Mobile Voter" system?
Yes. The "Elections" State Automated System of the Russian Federation and the "Mobile Voter" system introduced in 2018 will be used in experimental electronic voting.

Interaction with the "Elections" SAS means that the key stages of voting, i.e. the compilation of the voter roll and voting calculation will be supervised by the Central Electoral Commission of Russia.
What will open system testing be like?
In order to eliminate threats to information security of the remote electronic voting portal, the Moscow Department of Information Technology is launching public open testing of the information system to be used during the elections.

Protection against the following threats will be tested:

1. DDoS attack on the remote voting portal.

2. Use of infrastructure vulnerabilities of the remote electronic voting portal (such as outdated software versions, incorrect web server settings, etc.).

3. Use of voting process weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Debugging during the real voting process can result in both voting disruption and possible secrecy of ballot violation.

To gain access to the test infrastructure, the testing participant must accept the offer posted on mos.ru and send the IP list to the test organizer.