E-voting – alternative forms of voting and how to make them secure

  • Type of event:

    Public expert discussion

  • Venue:

    Deutscher Bundestag, Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin

    Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, Sitzungssaal 1 302

  • Date:


  • Time:

    15.00 to 17.30

Eine Hand steckt einen Zettel in eine Wahlurne, die von zwei Händen gehalten werden, die aus einem Computer kommen. e-voting ojogabonitoo/AdobeStock
E-voting – alternative forms of voting and how to make them secure

What was it about?

The aim of electronic voting, e.g. online via a home PC or smartphone, aims at creating a complementary option to conventional voting by ballot paper or postal voting. Comparable to postal voting, online voting can make it easier for voter groups to participate in elections – especially for those who encounter access barriers in conventional voting procedures, i. a. people with physical disabilities, older adults or people who are living abroad temporarily or permanently. Recent research also suggests that with the option of e-voting, the turn-out of non-voters and occasional voters might increase. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the required social distancing involved, online voting has gained additional importance.

Besides the advantages of online voting, however, an increased risk of manipulation of elections is assumed, which might result in problems regarding trust and acceptance. Moreover, some fear that online voting might lead to a trivialisation of the act of voting and violate important principles of political elections, such as the principle that elections should be subject to public scrutiny throughout the electoral process.

VDI/VDE-IT, as a consortium partner of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament (TAB), is currently conducting a TA short study on the advantages and disadvantages of e-voting compared to conventional voting methods. The interim results of the short study were presented in the form of a thesis paper* (in German) and discussed with experts at a public expert meeting.

The following questions guided the discussion:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of e-voting as well as drivers and barriers for its introduction?
  • To what extent does e-voting fulfill the principles of electoral law - generality of the vote, freedom of the vote, electoral equality, secrecy of the ballot, and publicity of the vote - compared to other voting methods (absentee voting and voting at polling stations)?
  • Are individual verification of the vote by the voter (vote was registered and counted for the party or candidate for which it was intended) and universal verification (the integrity of the entire election result is verifiable) possible with e-voting and can online elections be implemented securely?




  • Kai Gehring, MdB, Chairman of the Committee for Education, Research and Technology Assessment

Moderation of the expert discussion

  • Dr. Marc Bovenschulte, Head of Demography, Clusters and Future Research at VDI/VDE-IT
3.05 p.m.

Keynote speech "E-Voting

  • Prof. Dr. Melanie Volkamer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology,  Head of research group Security • Usability • Society (SECUSO) 
3.20 p.m.

Introduction to the thesis paper

  • Dr. Simone Ehrenberg-Silies, Dr. Anne Busch-Heizmann, VDI/VDE-IT
3.35 p.m.

Discussion with experts

  • Prof. Dr. Frank Bätge, University of Applied Sciences for Police and Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Jonas Fischer, Advisor for Accessibility, Sozialverband VdK Deutschland e. V. (German Social Association)
  • Jennifer Breuer, Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), Department DI - Cyber Security in Digitalization and for Electronic Identities
  • Ardita Driza Maurer, Independent Legal Advisor New Election Technologies, Lead Expert European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG) of the Council of Europe
  • Lena Flohre, German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media e. V. (Bitkom), Head of State Policy Division
  • Jörg Ide, Head of Staff, Board of Directors/Executive Board of Techniker Krankenkasse (Social Security Elections)
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Robert Krimmer, Chair of E-Governance, Skytte Institute, University of Tartu, Estonia
  • Dan Popescu, Council of Europe, Head of the Democracy and Governance Department
  • Marco Rüttger, Head of the Election Office, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
  • Signe Bock Segaard, PhD, Institute for Social Research, Oslo, Norway
  • Prof. Dr. Uwe Serdült, University of Law - Chair of Glaser, University of Zurich, Switzerland (joined at 4 p.m.)
  • Dr. Georg Thiel, President of the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), Federal Election Commissioner
  • Dr. Thomasz Truderung, Head of Research, Polyas GmbH
  • Dr. Jan Willemson, Cybernetica
  • Prof. Dr. Melanie Volkamer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Head of research group Security • Usability • Society (SECUSO) 
4:45 p.m. Closing discussion:
Should e-voting be used in federal elections in Germany - what would be the requirements?
5.30 p.m. End of the event

Programme (PDF, only in German)

The expert discussion was broadcasted live on parliamentary television. Active participation was this time only possible for members or employees of the German Bundestag.

Further information

* The thesis paper is preliminary and summarizes the interim results and the current state of knowledge of the short study, which has been in preparation since July 2021, in the form of theses according to the understanding of the authors. It does not represent the final short study. This short study will also include the findings of the expert meeting on April 6, 2022.

Recording of the event