Three-Ballot idea

The Three-Ballot idea was not invented by Ronald Rives. It was proposed by Bram Cohen, a computer programmer and the creator of the BitTorrent protocol. The Three-Ballot voting system is a cryptographic voting scheme that allows voters to cast three separate encrypted ballots to help ensure the integrity and secrecy of their votes. It's designed to provide a higher level of security and verifiability in electronic voting systems. While Ronald Rives is known for his work on voting systems and has proposed his own ideas in this field, he is not the originator of the Three-Ballot concept.

How does it work ?

The Three-Ballot idea is a cryptographic voting scheme designed to enhance the security and verifiability of electronic voting systems. Here's how it works:

  • Three Separate Ballots: In the Three-Ballot system, each voter is given three separate ballots, which they use to cast their vote. These three ballots are identical in content but are encrypted differently.
  • Voting Process:
    • First Ballot: The voter fills out the first ballot with their choices, just like in a traditional paper ballot. This ballot is encrypted and marked as the "commitment ballot." The voter can keep this ballot as a receipt. Second Ballot: The voter fills out the second ballot with their choices again and encrypts it differently from the first. This is known as the "authentication ballot."
    • Third Ballot: The voter fills out the third ballot similarly and encrypts it differently once more. This is the "audit ballot."
  • Casting Votes: The voter submits all three ballots into the voting system. The system records their votes and issues a receipt for the commitment ballot, which is essentially a proof that they have cast a valid vote.
  • Verification:
    • The commitment ballot can be used to verify that the voter's vote was counted and recorded accurately without revealing the voter's choices. It serves as a receipt without compromising the voter's privacy.
    • The authentication and audit ballots are stored for additional security. In case of any dispute or the need for a recount, these ballots can be used to verify the results. It provides an additional layer of transparency and integrity to the process.
  • Tallying: When it's time to count the votes, the system counts the commitment ballots while keeping the authentication and audit ballots as a reference for verification. This separation of ballots and encryption methods enhances the system's security.


The Three-Ballot idea is designed to provide a higher level of security and verifiability in electronic voting systems. It allows voters to verify that their vote was counted correctly without compromising the secrecy of their ballot. Additionally, it provides a way to audit the results if necessary. This concept addresses some of the common concerns with electronic voting systems, such as the risk of tampering and the lack of transparency in the voting process.

Implementation and usage

The Three-Ballot voting system, proposed by Bram Cohen, was primarily a theoretical concept, and there are not any widespread or official implementations of this system in real-world elections. It's important to note that the adoption of new voting systems, especially those involving complex cryptographic techniques, typically requires extensive research, testing, and consideration of security and usability issues.


  1. How does the Three-Ballot system enhance election security and integrity?

    • The Three-Ballot system uses cryptographic techniques to provide a higher level of security, ensuring that votes are accurately recorded and counted while maintaining voter privacy.
  2. What measures are in place to protect voter privacy and anonymity?

    • The Three-Ballot system separates the commitment, authentication, and audit ballots, allowing voters to verify their votes without revealing their choices, thus safeguarding their anonymity.
  3. Can the Three-Ballot system prevent fraud and tampering?

    • Yes, the system's cryptographic design makes it difficult for malicious actors to tamper with votes or manipulate the results without detection, enhancing the system's resistance to fraud.
  4. How does the Three-Ballot system facilitate the auditing and verification of election results?

    • The system maintains multiple encrypted copies of each vote, enabling transparent and verifiable audits of the results, which can help restore trust in the electoral process.
  5. What are the potential implementation challenges and costs associated with adopting the Three-Ballot system?

    • Implementing the Three-Ballot system requires careful planning, secure infrastructure, and voter education. Costs may include the development of secure voting software and training for election officials and voters.

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