Three weeks ago I finally met Mike Alvarez at the Dagstuhl meeting on e-voting in Germany where we had a great time together and at one point he asked me if I would be interested in writing about the European perspective on electoral reform, electronic voting and remote forms of it especially. As a long time reader of electionupdates I agreed right away.
Actually Mike & Thad’s paths nearby crossed mine several times – so I was really happy it finally happened in the crazy little German town of Dagstuhl 🙂
So how did I come accross the topic of e-voting? Actually in 1999 I was on a student exchange at New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business – the boom time of Internet. As amazon was hitting the campus bigtime and my colleagues back home at Vienna University of Economics in Austria were organizing the student union elections, the idea crossed my mind – “when you buy your text-books online, why can’t you vote online?”
What seemed back then like a fairly easy task turned out to be a long-term project. Back home I was engaged in an electoral reform effort of the student union law which allows for electronic voting since 2001 (the law was passed by the Austrian national parliament), I participated in the remote e-voting project “e-voting.at” till 2004 and in 2002 wrote my master thesis about the possibilities of remote electronic voting in the Austrian student union. For that I won the 2nd prize of the BMW Scientific Award in 2003. In 2003 and 2004 we also ran two shadow elections – one in parallel to the student union election and the other in parallel to the Austrian Federal President election.
2004 also was the year when I organized the first E-Voting conference in Castle Hofen (the proceedings are there as a pdf) in Bregenz/Austria at Lake Constance. We had nearly 50 participants from 11 countries and also the e-voting recommendations of the council of europe were presented there for the first time.
In 2005 I became first engaged in election observation of e-voting when I was invited by the European Commission to become part of the election observation mission to Venezuela in 2005 as an e-voting expert. It was quite an experience as a bug was found that allowed to track down the sequence of the voters. I have written a paper about observing e-voting. Before that trip I visited of the first nation-wide election (in that case on the local level) in Estonia where nearly 10,000 votes were cast online – a number which tripled in just 18 months in this year’s national parliament election.
2006 then was the year when I was convinced to start the competence center for electronic voting and participation (E-Voting.CC). Not only did the interest for election observation increase (besides the EU also by the OSCE/ODIHR). The main reason was definitely the second international conference on electronic voting 2006, which I then organized jointly with the Council of Europe. This was also the time when I came up with the (x) logo which symbolizes the combination of the Internet with a cast ballot.
The second conference was a huge success – not only did we have 85 participants from 23 different countries from around the world (from New Zealand to Canada) but also 22 wonderful presentations and the whole conference was webcast, which is still available online here.
In the next two posts you will find the 2006 proceedings as a PDF and also the CFP for the next conference!
This year I have been focusing on finishing my PhD which bears the working title “the use of information and communication technologies in the electoral process” where I conducted a multiple-case study. Besides that the preparations for next years conference stress me a bit so I was really happy that I somehow managed to go to Dagstuhl late July/early August.
Read more in my short cv, and in my personal blog at www.robert.krimmer.at.
So I hope I can contribute a bit to the further success of electionupdates!