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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
E-voting system wins design award
Woman casting her vote electronically
E-voting trials were held during May's local elections
An electronic voting system designed by academics in Surrey and Newcastle has won an international design award.

Researchers have claimed the system can quickly count millions of votes and make elections "truly verifiable".

The Pret a Voter team came top in the best system design category in a contest for e-voting systems in July, and second in the overall competition.

Surrey PhD student David Lundin said the system allowed voters to check their votes were actually counted.

He said it used encryption to secure the votes, and then posted them on a bulletin board for voters to verify.

This is the way we will safeguard democracy
David Lundin

"When you drop your ballot form in the box in today's elections you have to trust that it is correctly counted and does not go missing," he said.

"We want to make it possible for you, and all other voters, to check that your votes were actually counted.

"This is called end-to-end verifiability and my bet is that this is the way we will safeguard democracy in the future."

Professor Steve Schneider, from the University of Surrey, added: "While electronic voting using touch screens has been around for a long time, robust and verifiable systems built using security technology have only begun to emerge recently."

The system was developed by the Surrey Electronic Voting Group in collaboration with Newcastle University.

Security pilots

On Thursday, the Electoral Commission said that web and phone voting pilots should be stopped until security and testing had been improved.

It followed 13 pilots held during May's local elections in England.

The commission examined electronic voting, voting in advance of polling day, electronic counting and signing for ballot papers at the polling station.

The security of the voting process "needed to be strengthened" through a system of individual registration, it said.

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