My TED Global talk

David Bismark speaking about Verifiable Electronic Voting at TED Global in Oxford, UK 2010

At TED Global 2010 I got a wonderful six minutes to talk about four years’ of research. I thought I would use that opportunity not only to give people a taste of the interesting results that the verifiable electronic voting research community has had in recent years, but also to end with a strong call to action. The ideas I wanted to convey were:

  • Elections should be transparent and verifiable.
  • Elections are fundamental to our democracy.
  • Elections are by the people, for the people.

The response from the TED community who attended the conference has been absolutely fantastic. I could not have guessed or asked for anything similar and I am hoping to follow up on all the threads shortly.

I do believe that we need to talk about elections in a new way; we need to talk about transparency and verifiability. We live our lives dependent on the democracy of our respective countries so elections, the fundamental underpinning of democracy, have to be correct. Many of us live in countries with universal suffrage so now we need to take a step further. My vision is of election systems that are transparent (so that the people can see that the outcome is based on their will) and verifiable (so that the people can check that the announced result is the correct one). These systems should not only be impossible to cheat (because they are not run by God, they are run by humans so they have to be immune to human intervention) but they should tally the election correctly and prove that the tally is correct.

There is a plethora of Verifiable Electronic Voting systems in the research community and now I want to connect those interested in implementing these notions in real elections with the relevant science and scientists. Please do contact me and I will do everything I can to provide access to not only my own knowledge on the subject but also that of other researchers. (I have a PhD in Verifiable Electronic Voting.)

As far as I am aware, my talk is due to be published on ted.com in November, as there are US midterm elections then.