The introduction of electronic voting (e-voting) in National Election Systems has recently received a significant interest in several countries (e.g. USA, Canada, UK, Portugal). The studies conducted until today clearly demonstrate that this type of system is perceived as having a high level of risk. As researchers in the complex systems, organization and software engineering fields, we are trying to analyze the problems associated to general e-voting systems, relating them with the system architecture and components, and finding new ways to deploy systems with reduced risk levels. This problem is a challenging one, since it will be necessary to identify the multiple dimensions that characterize e-voting systems and associated risks. These risks do not roll up from one specific research topic, but rather have a strong multidisciplinary nature.

Research Goals

This project does not aim at tackling one or two well-known issues, e.g. security, but leaving the whole problem unsolved. On the contrary, our perspective is that a whole new integrated architecture must be developed, one that is capable to tackle the intrinsic complex nature of e-voting systems. This new approach must be multidisciplinary, since problems with e-voting lay in different research areas, such as distributed systems, information security, HCI, software design or organizationware. This new approach must also be visionary, since most of the problems with e-voting are large-scale in several dimensions (users, components, requirements, risks). Our proposed solution will consist of an architectural framework with high-level components conceived for handling risk in e-voting systems.

The project will be organized according to three major areas of concern:

  • Security-related risks
  • Community-related risks
  • Usefulness-related risks


This project will integrate teams from the following research areas:

  • Complex systems architecture specification (ADETTI, STAPE, ITIJ) – With specialists in National Election Systems, organizationware, complex systems analysis and modeling to define the main lines of an e-voting system that fill legal, social and technical requirements
  • Software systems design (FCUL, ITIJ) – With specialists in the development of complex socio-technical systems, new analysis and design techniques such as participatory design, low-fidelity prototyping and application of use- and misuse-cases
  • Human-computer interaction (FCUL, STAPE) – With experts in HCI, usability engineering, accessibility and multimodal interactions
  • Information security (IEETA, ADETTI, INESC) – With experts in designing and building information security systems and strong authentication mechanisms
  • Distributed systems (INESC, IEETA) – With specialists in large-scale systems, Internet technology and secure voting protocols.

Team Members

  • Pedro Antunes (PhD)
  • Luís Carriço (PhD)
  • André Zúquete (PhD)
  • Carlos Costa (PhD)
  • Paulo Ferreira (PhD)
  • João Dias (PhD)
  • Carlos Serrão (MSc)
  • Rui Pinto
  • Filipe Simões



  • Talk: Pedro Antunes, Algumas Reflexões Sobre Voto Elelectrónico, Colóquio sobre Voto Electrónico e Privacidade dos Eleitores, patrocinado pela Comissão Nacional de Protecção de Dados, Dezembro 2005. http://www.di.fc.ul.pt/~paa/reports/evoto05b.pdf


  • E-Voting Project, E-Voting - A new Architectural Framework for Handling Risk in E-Voting Systems - Project Proposal , Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, P. Antunes, Ed., 2004, http://www.di.fc.ul.pt/~paa/reports/R031.pdf


E-Voting project is funded by Fundação da Ciência e Tecnologia , Programa POSI/EIA/, nº57038/2004.