Trust through explainability in verifiable online voting systems

Project description

Since the beginning of the pandemic, online voting systems have been increasingly discussed and used in secret elections and votes. On the one hand, the question is raised as to the technical and organizational trustworthiness of the systems used (i.e., how the security of these systems is assessed in the course of an evaluation of their properties) and, on the other hand, as to how the voters’ trust in these systems (and ultimately the outcome) is influenced and what role explainability plays in this context (i.e., to what extent voters understand the functionality and/or properties). To this end, we will analyze the academic literature and, where appropriate, political-media discourse in the following contexts:

  1. studies on voter trust in online elections;
  2. statements on trustworthiness in the security context (properties/assumptions as well as methods, e.g., cryptographic proofs, formal methods, user studies) in general, but especially in the context of online elections;
  3. relationship between different forms of explainability and trust in systems;
  4. current discussions and approaches to the conceptualization of trust with regard to institutions, actors, citizens, and technology as a category also for the design and governance of technology fields, here using the example of online elections.


Reinhard Heil
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26815