Effective management of the electoral process
- Share election management between several people
- Quality assurance through the optional self-tests
- Unrestricted access to the election’s log files
If you would like to use the “Election board interface” feature for your online voting, please contact your Election Manager or POLYAS Support (firstname.lastname@example.org). They will activate the feature and set it up for you. Please note that a lead time of at least 14 days is required for the implementation.
The election board interface provides a number of options for managing your election. All persons authorized to use the electoral board interface (e.g. the electoral board) can:
- Start and stop voting manually
- Restart the voting following a fault
- Start manual counting or archive the election
- Perform self-tests to check the functionality of election subsystems
- Check the election status
- View the technical log files of your election
Note: It is not possible to test the election board interface in a test election.
Requirements for setup and use
In order for us to set up the election board interface for you, we need to know the number of peopleyou wish to authorize for the interface. Each of these people, such as the members of your electoral board, can be given user names of your choice. Logging in to the election committee interface requires the user name and a password.
One option with the election board interface is to implement a separation of duty for starting and stopping the voting and for initiating the count. This requires a number of people to authorize any operation before it can be carried out. If you wish to implement a separation of duty for your election, please inform us of the number of authorizations you require for each management option. Please note that you should designate a substitute person for each option who also has this authorization in the event of absence due to illness.
Another option is to adjust the waiting period for voting. The default is 15 minutes. The waiting period defines the time after the election has ended, within which users who are already logged in can still cast their votes. However, voters who are not yet logged in are unable to enter the system.
For the later use of the electoral board interface, the authorized persons require the following:
- Their own device that they can use to log in
- A working Internet connection
- A web browser that is up to date (we support the Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Edge browsers)
Before the election
In order to use the election board interface, you should collect the necessary information in advance and inform your authorized users.
- The link to the election board interface, which you can view in the POLYAS Online Voting Manager
- Your access data, which you will receive from your Election Manager or the Support Team.
- The signature and communication keys for all system components and the ballot-box key for the counting, which can be obtained from your Election Manager or the Support Team.
With the access data consisting of a user name and password, each member of the electoral board can log in individually. You will receive this in advance by e-mail from your Election Manager. If you prefer, the access data can be generated independently using a program.
There is also a signature and communication key for the system components, such as the ballot box, the directory, or the validator, and these are generated by the system. We recommend that you distribute these keys among your electoral board. However, it is important for one person to have all the keys to activate the components.
Initiating the counting of your online voting requires the ballot-box key that protects the ballot box. This, too, is generated by the system.
To activate the election board interface, one member of your election board accesses the URL and enters the signature and communication keys for the election board interface. The interface is now activated and you can manage your online voting.
Caution: If you carry out a certified online election rather than a non-certified election, some process steps will differ. In this case, please let your Election Manager advise you.
1. Start the voting
To start the online voting, all members of the electoral board must be logged in to authorize it. You decide in advance how many people there have to be.
To do this, go to “Election implementation”, click on “Start voting” and re-enter your access data to authenticate yourself. You then complete the process by clicking on “Authorization to start voting”.
Caution: Make sure that all authorizations are carried out one after the other, and do not log out after authorizing; otherwise the authorization will expire.
After confirmation by all of the members who are authorized to start the election, the person who logged in last can start the election by clicking on “Start voting” and then on “Authorization to start voting”.
Subsequently, all signature and communication keys must be entered to start the various systems:
- Signature and communication key for the validator
- Signature and communication key for the ballot box
- Signature and communication key for the electoral roll
Note: Please note that the voting system is case-sensitive.
The status of the system components now changes from DISABLED to UP and you have successfully opened your polling station.
2. Perform self-tests
To test all of the online voting systems, click on the “Self-test” button at the bottom right-hand of the “Administration” area. The following is now checked:
- The accessibility of the voting systems
- The system times on the different servers
- The number of votes received
- The number of eligible voters on the electoral roll
- The number of voters who voted already
- Checksum integrity and communications between the electoral roll and the ballot box. Read more about this here >
All tests are encrypted. If an area has an error, an error message is displayed in the election board interface.
3. Viewing log files
In the “Administration” area you will also find the “Log files” button. Information about starting the servers, the self-tests and error messages are contained here. The messages are divided into categories:
- DEBUG = for development purposes only
- INFO = status messages
- WARN = warnings
- ERROR = error due to incorrect operation
- FATAL = malfunction
4. Stop voting
To stop voting manually, all electoral board members who are authorized to stop the voting must be logged in. Online voting should end at the time specified in the voter invitations. After voting has stopped, the waiting period has to expire. One after the other, all members of the board click on “Stop voting” and authorize their actions as when the voting started (see 3.). After all authorizations have been received, a selected person can stop the voting and then finally end the election by clicking on the authorization button. Eligible voters cannot login after this time.
After the waiting period has expired, the validator is shut down. The person who finally stopped the voting must now seal the election and archive it. Only now is the ballot box and electoral roll shut down. No more votes can be cast and the election is stopped.
5. Vote counting
In order to count the online votes now, all of the persons who have permissions to authorize the count must be logged in to the election board interface. Now, as with the previous authorizations, click one after the other on “Counting and archiving” and authorize the process. The last person to submit their authorization actively initiates the counting.
With the help of the ballot-box key, the selected person on the electoral board can now decrypt the ballot box. Enter the key and click on “Set key again”. Then click again on “Counting and archiving”. You can then view the results of the voting in the electoral board interface and download the election archive as well as the raw data of the individual components.
Note: The counting may take a few minutes depending on the number of votes in the ballot box. In the meantime, avoid clicking any of the buttons in the electoral board interface. Otherwise, the counting may be delayed or even canceled.
Now close your election in the POLYAS Online Voting Manager. You can subsequently download the result files for your election. Read more about this here >